Bhubaneswar, Sept. 26: Dark clouds hover over this Durga Puja with the local meteorological centre here sounding a warning note.
The Met centre has predicted moderate to heavy rain till the end of this month. Puja enthusiasts, thus, have to brace themselves for a spell of rain during the celebrations.
The rain expected to lash the city are likely to be triggered by a low-pressure system, which, according to the Met centre, would be forming over the Bay of Bengal in the next 24 hours. As part of the lopar (low pressure), the entire state would witness rainfall, especially the coastal belt. Heavy rain is likely at one or two places in the coastal region.
"A cyclonic circulation persists over the northwest Bay of Bengal. It might intensify into a low pressure area and affect the state's weather. The southwest monsoon is also active over neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, which will also contribute to weather change in the state," said Met director Sarat Chandra Sahu.
The prediction of the weather department is a cause for worry for the twin cities' Puja committees, who have spent lavishly on decorating the pandals. Work on the pandals began over a month ago with workers, in some cases, imported from neighbouring Bengal.
The Puja enthusiasts also appear to have misgivings. "The rain, if it is heavy, is bound to put a bit of a damper on the event. No one would like to go pandal-hopping in bad weather. Durga Puja in Bhubaneswar is a treat to watch since the Puja committees always work hard to make the pandals as beautiful as possible. We are keeping our fingers crossed hoping for the best," said Rasulgarh resident Dharitri Mishra.
At present, the residents are reeling from a hot and humid weather. With the humid spell continuing for the past few weeks, there was talk of rain at the end of it. Now, the Met department's predictions seems to have confirmed these fears.
"Humidity is unbearable, but it is still better than rain, especially during the Pujas," said Rasulgarh Puja Committee member Tutu Baliarsingh.
Similar fears were also expressed by some other Puja committee members in the city, but they still hoped that people would turn up at the pandals in large numbers. "The spirit of Puja is overriding," quipped one of them.