A day of very high humidity culminated in rain in parts of the city on Tuesday evening, bringing at least some momentary respite from the sticky heat of the past few days.
The maximum temperature recorded on Tuesday was 35.2 degrees Celsius, but Met officials said it felt like 40 degrees, primarily because of the humidity. But this is not unusual during this time of the year.
G.K. Das, director of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Kolkata, said the last week of May had always been very humid.
The transition between summer and the monsoon is generally like this because of the heavy presence of moisture in the atmosphere. Unless it rains, the stuffy feeling persists, he said.
The next few days are likely to be the same with some momentary respites in the form of rain, said an IMD official.
The evening rain was scattered. While it rained in parts of north and central Kolkata like Chandni Chowk, there was a light drizzle in parts of south like Kasba.
A Gariahat resident said at 9pm that it had still not rained in that area.
“It felt like 39 or 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. That is because of the very high level of moisture in the air,” said Das.
“The wind blows in from overland during summer and over the sea in the monsoon. The wind from the sea carries a lot more moisture.”
According to the Met office, the maximum relative humidity on Tuesday was 87 per cent and the minimum 63 per cent. The maximum temperature recorded — 35.2 degrees Celsius — was one degree above normal.
The minimum temperature on Tuesday was 28.3 degrees Celsius, also one degree above normal.
People sweated profusely throughout the day. The combination of heat and humidity, along with the absence of rain, made the weather unbearable during the daytime.
Soumendu Chatterjee, head of the geography department at Presidency University, said two primary factors were responsible for the high moisture content in the air.
“Cyclones or storms that happened this season did not yield desired rainfall. As a result, a lot of the moisture has remained in the air. The wind speed is not high enough to push away the moisture,” he said.
Coupled with this, bright sunshine has led to a high rate of evaporation that only increased the moisture level in the air, he said. The two together resulted in very high humidity.
The Met office forecast a maximum temperature of 34 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 28 degrees on Wednesday. The sky is likely to be partly cloudy and there is a possibility of moderate rain and thunderstorms.