The Telegraph
Friday , April 25 , 2014
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Twin attack of heat and holler
Summer vacation 17 days early

The Celsius continued its climb to reach 41.1 degrees on Thursday, completing a hat-trick of forties that led the government to advance the summer vacation in state-aided schools by 17 days.

The maximum temperature was six degrees above normal while relative humidity was again unusually low, as has been the case throughout this week and for most of this rainless summer.

The weather office warned that Friday could bring worse with humidity making a comeback and the Celsius staying at 40-plus.

“A trough of low pressure stretching from north Bengal to Odisha is in the making. This will make the weather even more uncomfortable from Friday because of moisture incursion,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, director of the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.

The unrelenting weather and the prospect of more uncomfortable days ahead prompted the government to announce that the summer vacation in 57,000 primary and more than 18,000 secondary and higher secondary schools would start on May 2 instead of May 19.

The vacation will end on May 31 but could be extended if the hot spell continues, an official said.

In another notification, the education department asked schools in all districts to tweak their timings and finish classes early, depending on the weather there. State-aided schools and a few private institutions in the city have already done so to spare students the scorching afternoon heat.

The government’s directive is not binding on private schools but some have voluntarily advanced the summer vacation for their nursery and kindergarten sections.

The lower and upper nursery sections at the La Martiniere schools will close for summer from Monday. School timings for the rest of the classes at both institutions have been rescheduled — 7.30am to 11.05am for the boys and 7.30am to 11.30am for the girls. Classes normally start at 8am in both schools.

At Gokhale Memorial Girls’ Higher Secondary School, the summer vacation for students of KG-I and KG-II will start on May 2.

Mongrace Montessori House announced on Thursday that classes for children in the age group of 4-plus would give over at noon instead of 12.45pm from Monday. St. Xavier’s Collegiate School will give over at 12.10pm instead of 1.30pm for classes II to XII. Students of KG till Class I will go home at 11.30am from Monday.

Calcutta Boys’ School will also start classes at 7.30am instead of 8am and give over by noon instead of 1.30pm from Monday onwards.

If the forecast of 40-plus temperature till at least Saturday holds, it will be the first known instance of five consecutive days of heatwave conditions in Calcutta. April 2009 had seen 40-plus readings four days on the trot.

Weather scientists said there was little chance of a Nor’wester or a localised thundershower. “Only if the trough over Bengal intensifies will there be enough moisture incursion to trigger a thunderstorm,” a Met official said.