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Kolkata shivers on coldest January day in five years

Darjeeling recorded the lowest temperature in West Bengal at 4.8 degrees Celsius

Debraj Mitra | Published 07.01.23, 07:05 AM
A family wrapped in woollens on a motorcycle on Mayo Road on Friday evening

A family wrapped in woollens on a motorcycle on Mayo Road on Friday evening

Picture by Gautam Bose

The city shivered as the Celsius plummeted to 10.9 degrees Celsius on Friday, the coldest January day in five years.

Darjeeling recorded the lowest temperature in West Bengal at 4.8 degrees and many districts saw the Celsius slide well below the 10-degree mark.


The Met office said a further dip in Kolkata was unlikely but not impossible. Even if the Celsius goes up marginally, the cold spell is likely to last for the next few days, said a Met official.

Scenes of a shivering city were at play across Kolkata.

  • In the early hours of Friday, a Lake Town resident went to his terrace for a smoke. "I was wearing a jacket but it was no match for the chill and the winds. I went back in and wrapped myself in a shawl and came back," said Sourav Paul, 41.
  • Shortly after midnight on Thursday, a Behala resident started watching a film on his laptop. A window in the room was slightly open.  “Fifteen minutes later, I had to close it because of the biting cold,” said Satyaki Das, 30.
  • On Friday afternoon, around half a dozen pairs of hands warmed themselves over an earthen stove in Babughat. There was hardly room for more but hands kept coming over.
  • Around forenoon, when the sun was shining brightly, most pedestrians on Park Street had multiple layers of warm clothes, covering their heads and ears.

Friday was the coldest January day in Kolkata in five years (see chart). The mercury in Kolkata has not gone below 11 degrees in January since 2018. In 2013, the Celsius had slid below 11 degrees on five days in January.

Between 2013 and 2018, the Celsius never slid below 11. 

According to the Met records compiled over the past 50 years, the coldest January day in Kolkata was on January 14, 1989, when the Celsius plunged to 8.4 degrees.  

A Met official attributed the current chill to the free flow of dry and cold northwesterly winds from Kashmir.

“There is no obstacle to the northwesterly winds. They are getting free access across mainland India. There is no weather system, on the land or on the sea, to stall the flow of the winds,” said G.K. Das, director, India Meteorological Department, Kolkata.

On Friday, the maximum temperature went up marginally but at 22.7 degrees Celsius, it was still three notches below normal, as was the minimum temperature. As a result, even the afternoon was chilly, as has been the case for the past few days.

The coming days are likely to remain cold, according to the Met forecast.

“The minimum temperature is likely to be in the 11-degree Celsius range on Saturday. It might go up slightly on Sunday and Monday but the chill will persist. The day temperature is also likely to go up marginally,” said Das.

On Friday, the minimum temperature in Darjeeling was 4.8 degrees Celsius.

Purulia saw the Celsius plunge to 6.2 degrees. Bardhaman and Sriniketan saw minimum temperatures of 7.3 and 7.8 degrees, respectively.

Found dead

The body of a senior citizen was found in a groundfloor room of a two-storey house on Gour Sundar Seth Lane in Sinthee on the city’s northern fringes on Thursday. The deceased was identified as Jayanta Dey, 83. No note was found on him, police said.

Last updated on 07.01.23, 08:14 AM

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