HT, 14 June, KOLKATA: The long wait is over! After suffering a sweaty, grimy summer, it’s time to welcome the rains.
Monsoon, say forecasters, is closing in on Bengal and could hit the state over the next 48 hours. 
“Monsoon is likely to hit North Bengal within the next 48 hours. Once it arrives in North Bengal, it would take another four-five days to reach Kolkata. So, the Kolkatans could expect the rains to arrive by the end of this week,” GC Debnath, deputy director general of IMD’s regional office in Kolkata, said. 
The Met department has already predicted heavy premonsoon showers in North Bengal from Monday. The terai regions of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar are also likely to receive very to very heavy rainfall over the next three days, a senior Met official said.
Darjeeling has already recorded about 63.4 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours. This is almost double the amount of rain that Kolkata received on Monday morning. The city woke up to grey skies on Sunday and a smart early morning shower on Monday brought relief from the insufferable sauna that the city had turned into since Saturday, as the mercury shot up to 40°C. 
However, while Kolkata’s tryst with monsoon is still a week away, the city witnessed a rare weather event on Monday morning.
“A huge column of cloud — taller than Mount Everest and spanning over a few hundred kilometers — travelled more than 400 km overnight to reach Kolkata and triggered heavy rain since 7 am,” a senior Met official said.
The local Met department had spotted at least two cyclonic circulations near Bengal on Sunday. While one was located over east Bihar, the other one was spotted over Bangladesh and adjoining areas. 

These two atmospheric systems gave birth to a giant column of cloud over Jharkhand, which journeyed hundreds of kilometres overnight to reach Kolkata and brought heavy rains in the early hours of Monday. The city woke up to menacing clouds approaching the city from the north-west on Monday morning. 
“The coming together of two weather systems to give birth to a third system is not uncommon. However, what was rare was the distance travelled by the cloud. It was pretty unusual and caught us unawares. We’d expected rainfall on Monday, but not this much. The city recorded about 32 mm of rainfall in just two hours,” Debnath said. 
Met officials said the skies over the city would remain overcast in the next 48 hours. 
The rains will continue to lash the city and the temperature will remain below the climatic normal.
On Monday, the day temperature fell seven degrees below what it should have been at this time of the year.