Kalboisakhi, also known as Nor’westers, is a term used in Kolkata to describe the pre-monsoon storm that hits the city every year. These storms bring with them heavy rain, lightning, thunder, and strong winds, often resulting in power outages, uprooted trees, and damaged infrastructure. Kalboisakhi usually occurs between the months of March and May, and is an integral part of Kolkata’s weather pattern.
The term Kalboisakhi literally translates to ‘Nor’westers of Bengal,’ and is derived from the Arabic word ‘al-Barras,’ which means ‘thunderstorm.’ The storm is a result of the clash between the hot and humid air over the Gangetic plain and the cool and dry air over the Himalayas. This clash creates a low-pressure area, which draws in moisture from the Bay of Bengal, resulting in the formation of thunderstorms.
The storm usually lasts for a few hours, but the intensity can vary from mild to severe. In some cases, the storm can last for several days, causing widespread damage and disruption. The heavy rainfall during Kalboisakhi is critical for the agricultural sector in West Bengal, as it helps to replenish the soil moisture and prepare the land for the monsoon.
Despite the destruction caused by Kalboisakhi, the people of Kolkata have developed a unique relationship with the storm. It is a welcome respite from the scorching heat of the summer months and provides relief from the high humidity levels. The sound of thunder and lightning adds a dramatic effect to the city’s already vibrant atmosphere. Children can be seen playing in the rain, and adults take a break from their daily routine to enjoy the cool breeze.
However, the storm can also have severe consequences, with several deaths reported every year due to lightning strikes and electrocution from fallen power lines. The storm can also disrupt transportation, with flights and trains often delayed or canceled due to the adverse weather conditions.
The city of Kolkata has taken several measures to minimize the impact of Kalboisakhi. The government has installed lightning arresters in vulnerable areas, and the power distribution companies have ensured that the power lines are insulated and grounded to prevent electrocution. The municipal corporation has also stepped up its efforts to clear fallen trees and restore the damaged infrastructure.
In conclusion, Kalboisakhi is a natural phenomenon that is an integral part of Kolkata’s weather pattern. While it brings with it destruction and disruption, it also provides much-needed relief from the scorching heat of the summer months. It is an experience that the people of Kolkata have learned to live with and enjoy, while also taking necessary precautions to stay safe.