Saturday was the warmest Makar Sankranti in the city in at least 53 years, according to Met records.
The minimum temperature recorded by the Met office at Alipore, which serves as the official record for Kolkata, was 19.7 degrees Celsius, a staggering five notches above normal.
“From 1969 to 2023, today is the hottest Makar Sankranti day in Kolkata. Before that, we don’t have the records at our ready disposal,” said G.K. Das, director, India Meteorological Department, Kolkata.
Makar Sankranti usually falls on January 14 or 15.
The hottest January day, according to Met records, was on January 21 in 2008, when the minimum temperature was 21.3 degrees Celsius.
In what is usually the coldest phase in Kolkata, the Celsius is soaring.
On Saturday, at 27.5 degrees Celsius, the maximum temperature was also a couple of notches above normal.
Das concurred that the time of Makar Sankranti is usually the coldest in Kolkata but said there have been “aberrations”.
Only last year, the minimum temperature on Makar Sankranti (January 14, 2022) was 18.2 degrees.
A week ago, the city was under the grip of a cold spell. On January 6, the Celsius had plunged to 10.9 degrees, making it the coldest January day in five years.
The Met office has attributed the change to two systems.
“A western disturbance over Jammu and Kashmir is stalling the flow of the cold northwesterly winds. Another high-pressure zone over the Bay of Bengal is leading to moisture-laden southwesterly winds into Kolkata and other coastal areas. A combination of both has led to the rise in temperature,” said Das.
The high-pressure zone took shape on Friday and intensified on Saturday, he said.
The immediate forecast for Kolkata does not include the return of chill. Some rain, however, is likely in the middle of next week.
The western disturbance is likely to weaken over the next couple of days. But the high-pressure zone is likely to persist and Kolkata will continue to get south-westerly winds, according to the forecast.
On top of that, a trough of low-pressure is likely to take shape over an area stretching from Odisha to Bengal. Under its impact, light rain is likely in Kolkata and other coastal areas on Wednesday and Thursday, said Das. “The minimum temperature is likely to go down in the coming days, but only marginally.”