Touch of spring in season of chill

Barely nine days after Patnaites shivered in the season's coldest at 1.1�C, they got a feel of spring-like conditions ahead of time on Friday.

Over the past few days, both the gradually rising minimum and maximum temperatures in the city settled at 14.4�C (five degrees above normal) and 26�C (three degrees above normal) on Friday. There has been a difference of more than 10 degrees Celsius in minimum temperature over the past six days (see chart).

Residents, however, are upbeat about the respite from extreme day cold and cold wave conditions, which swept the entire state over the first fortnight of January. "With the weather improving drastically, I am having a nice time going out with my friends. I have even planned a trip to Bodhgaya with my friends this weekend considering the warm weather," said Sonu Kumar, a resident of Rajeev Nagar.

The city experienced moderate rainfall with thunder late on Friday evening.

Weathermen attributed a cyclonic circulation prevailing over Uttar Pradesh to the northward movement in the mercury column. "A western disturbance lying over the Himalayan region has led to the formation of a cyclonic circulation over Uttar Pradesh (UP), which in turn, led to stormy weather and light rainfall in New Delhi and several places in UP on Friday. In Bihar, it led to hazy skies, preventing solar radiation from the earth's surface from reaching the upper layers of the atmosphere, leading to a rise in the minimum temperature. The cyclonic circulation is expected to hit north Bihar on Saturday and lead to light rainfall," said Ashish Sen, director, India Meteorological Department (IMD).

"The weather has become significantly comfortable over the past few days. Accordingly, I am wearing only a half-sleeve sweater at daytime," said Prabhat Kumar, a Boring Road resident.

Health experts, however, cautioned people not to shed woollens all of a sudden. "The thermostatic mechanism of the body is not accustomed to frequent fluctuations in temperature. Thus, people should be very careful at present. Fans should not be switched on and the entire body should be covered from morning to evening. Special care should taken of children and the elderly. Ignoring such weather condition can cause viral fever, respiratory and blood pressure-related ailments," said Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, professor of physiology at Patna Medical College and Hospital.

The cyclonic circulation is expected to give a warm weekend to Patnaites. "The cyclonic circulation would form a moderate cloud cover in the medium and lower levels of the atmosphere over central Bihar, including Patna, during the weekend. There would be a simultaneous rise in the minimum and maximum temperature levels as well. Minimum temperature would be above 15�C and maximum temperature would hover around 25�C. Both minimum and maximum temperatures would start falling after January 21 but severe cold conditions would not return," said Sen.

The city is officially scheduled to bid adieu to winter in the last week of January. The mid-day all-India bulletin of IMD on Friday warned of hailstorms at one or two places over the state in the next 24 hours.

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