Kolkata: The city is ready for the razzmatazz but will the gods play along? The question haunted organizers, Bollywood stars, fans and cricketers on the eve of the grand IPL-8 inaugural ceremony at Salt Lake Stadium-Kolkata at 7pm tonight. With Nor’westers lashing the city for the second day running, everyone is keeping their fingers crossed for a rain-free spell on Tuesday evening.
That though would be nothing short of a miracle. The Met office has predicted another thunderstorm on Tuesday evening, prompting fears of a washout. Tickets for the high-decibel evening — starring among others Hrithik Roshan, Anushka Sharma, Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor and Frahan Akhtar — sold out within hours of counters opening .
“Tuesday will see the formation of another cluster of thunderclouds. Therefore, there is every chance of rain,” said Devendra Pradhan, deputy director general Indian Meteorological Department. If the rain arrives towards afternoon or early evening, organizers of the glitzy jamboree could still hope to salvage the show. But a late-evening thunderstorm may just kill the programme that includes floor projections, lazer shows and explosive dance routines.
According to the Met, the cyclonic circulation over Gangetic West Bengal currently extends up to a kilometer above sea level and is bringing in copious quantities of moisture, triggering cloud formation. Strong winds are turning these into thundershowers, the intensity of the downpour depending on the height of the cloud and volume of moisture within.
Such a thundershower struck the city on Monday evening accompanied by hail in some areas. A cluster of tall cumulonimbus clouds extending up to 18 km had resulted in heavy rain in Kolkata on Sunday. The height of the cloud was lower at 13 km on Monday. Though this cloud cluster will dissipate on Monday night, the cyclonic circulation will remain active and hence moisture incursion is expected to continue. As a result, rain clouds will again gather on Tuesday with the possibility of another thundershower towards afternoon or early evening. The only hope is that the intensity and duration of the rain could be less than what the city experienced on Sunday.
Rain apart, there are traffic concerns, too, for fans travelling to Salt Lake Stadium. A rally by Left Front on Tuesday afternoon is likely to choke traffic in the city centre. The rally from Mahajati Sadan to Esplanade will start at 3.30 pm and will have participants walking from vantage points like Sealdah and Howrah, creating massive congestion.