Saturday was the coldest October day in Kolkata in at least a decade. The Celsius plunged to 19.6 degrees, three notches below normal, on Saturday morning riding cold and dry northwesterly winds.
The minimum temperature went below 20 degrees for the first time this season. According to the Met archives, the minimum temperature was 19.9 degrees on October 28, 2012.
The record chill that October got was 17.2 degrees Celsius, on October 31, 1954, according to the Met office.
The Celsius touching 20 degrees Celsius in October is not rare but breaching that mark is.
“The sky is clear. The dry and cold north-westerly winds are getting unobstructed access into the city. The minimum temperature is likely to remain in the range of 19-20 degrees over the next few days,” said G.K. Das, director, India Meteorological Department, Kolkata.
“The winds are not coming from Kashmir. There is a high-pressure area in central India. Under the influence of the system, cold winds are coming via Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.”
The hint of chill was unmissable since Friday night.
“I was riding my bike from New Town to Garia late in the evening. I badly missed a jacket,” said Saikat Jotdar, who works with the sales division of a pharmaceutical company. He was returning to his home in Garia on Friday.
Morning walkers on Saturday felt the chill.
“There has been a nip in the morning air for a while now but today, it was sharper,” said Jayesh Parekh, a Tollygunge resident who goes to Rabindra Sarobar every morning.
The Met office had predicted clear weather after the passage of Cyclone Sitrang. But while Tuesday saw a clear sky in Kolkata, Wednesday was gloomy.
Met officials had then attributed the change to the sudden entry of northeastern winds from Assam and Bangladesh, via Bay of Bengal.
The moist winds had led to the formation of clouds, said Met officials.
“The northeasterly winds are no longer coming in,” Das said on Saturday. However, the Celsius is unlikely to slide past 19 degrees in the next few days, he added.
Winter is still some distance away, the Met office said. Unlike the monsoon, the weather office in Alipore does not announce the onset of winter.
There are, however, some parameters that mark the arrival of the season.
One such parameter is that the minimum temperature has to be 15 degrees or lower for at least four days at a stretch.