A biker, his face with a handkerchief to beat the heat, in Siliguri on Tuesday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
June 17: Siliguri today was a sweltering 37°C in the daytime, at least 4 degrees above normal for this time of the year.
The northern limit of the South-West monsoon has entered Gangtok and Cooch Behar but it has not brought sustained rainfall to Siliguri and other parts of north Bengal yet. The Met department in Jalpaiguri said in another 48 hours, conditions would be favourable for the advance of the monsoon in sub-Himalayan Bengal.
Till then, the “scorching sunshine” in Siliguri could stay. “The scorching sunshine is abnormal in the middle of June. The humidity is also quite high,” said a weather expert in Siliguri.
The Jalpaiguri centre does not measure humidity, so no figure was available for it.
Sources in the India Meteorological Department office in Jalpaiguri said the maximum temperature in Siliguri today was 37°C. “Yesterday, Siliguri recorded the maximum temperature of 36.9°C. The average highest temperature at this time of year in Siliguri is 32-33°C,” the IMD official said.
Last night, the temperature was 25.3°C in Siliguri. “Last night’s drop in temperature was because of rain,” said the IMD official, which was as less as 2mm.
Weathermen forecast that the monsoon would enter north Bengal in the next 48 hours. “Conditions are becoming favourable for the further advance of the monsoon towards the remaining parts of central India, sub-Himalayan Bengal and Sikkim in the next two days. The monsoon hits north Bengal generally between June 7 and 10,” said an IMD officer in Jalpaiguri.
The IMD source said the El Nino had delayed the arrival of the monsoon in the region. “Because of the El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, the south-west monsoon hit Kerala on June 6, against the normal date of June 1,” the source said.
“ Although it rained in Siliguri last night, there has been no change in the heat today with the sun blazing as usual,” said Santanu Das, a salesman in Siliguri.
In Jalpaiguri, diseases like dysentery and skin rashes are on the rise because of the heat, said doctors.
The absence of rain has adversely hit the bought leaf factories (BLF) in the tea industry.
“The BLFs are getting no tealeaves as production has been hit by the drought,” said Satish Mitruka, vice-president of the North Bengal Tea Producers’ Welfare Association.