Heat and humidity take their toll on a Calcuttan near the Victoria Memorial on Tuesday afternoon. (Pradip Sanyal)
Calcutta’s longest heatwave in memory just got worse with the “hottest day in a decade” and fast
diminishing chances of any rain before monsoon.
The Alipore Met office declared Tuesday’s temperature of 41.5 degrees Celsius the highest since 2004, though May 8, 2009, might have been marginally hotter at 41.8 degrees, according to data handed out then by the India Meteorological Department and highlighted by Metro on May 9, 2009.
Humidity ranged between 18 and 88 per cent.
The weather office has not only predicted that the heatwave will continue for three days at least, it has also almost ruled out rain anytime soon.
Meteorologists said chances of rain over the next few days were getting slimmer as squalls tend to stay away from Calcutta in the final weeks of summer.
According to experts, the city would probably have to wait for the onset of monsoon — usually between June 8 to 10 — for any rain.
To make matters worse, the south-westerly monsoon that arrived till the Andaman islands on time is expected to slow down and reach Calcutta a few days behind schedule.
The winds that herald the rainy season reach the continental landmass when they hit Kerala on June 1 and travel up towards the city.
This year, the monsoon winds are tipped to reach Kerala on June 5 and, therefore, likely to arrive in Calcutta behind schedule as well.
“It has been seen that the thunderstorms that bring relief to the city in summer tend to dry up between the end of May and the beginning of June.
So, there is a strong possibility that Calcutta would go without rain till monsoon rain arrives,” said a senior official of the IMD.
The theory was supported by Asish Sarkar, a former professor of geography at Presidency University. “There are quite a few squalls in Calcutta and its surroundings in May, but we know from experience that they are more towards the first half of the month,” he said.
While there is no weather system in the vicinity to ease the torment, the Celsius could drop slightly on Wednesday.
Actor Prosenjit, who was at an outdoor shoot on Tuesday, called the heat “killing”.
“Shooting for Force was really tough.... But work has to go on, so we shot the entire afternoon under the blazing sun; had lots of water to beat the heat.
That’s how an actor’s life is. We are all mad!” he said.