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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/89

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CLIMATE

dry, and the nights cool. November is rainless and in every way a pleasant month. The clouds begin to gather before Christmas, but rain often holds off till January. Pleasant though the early months of the cold weather are, they lay traps for the unwary. In October and November the daily range of temperature is very large, exceeding 30, and the fall at sunset very sudden. Care is needed to avoid a chill and the fever that follows. Clear and dry though the air is, the blue of the skies is pale owing to a light dust haze in the upper atmosphere. For the same reason the Himalayan snows except after rain are veiled from dwellers in the plains at a distance of 30 miles from the foot-hills. The air in these months before the winter rains is wonderfully still. In the three months after Christmas the Pan jab is the pathway of a series of small storms from the west, preceded by close weather and occurring usually at intervals of a few weeks. After a day or two of wet weather the sky clears, and the storm is followed by a great drop in the temperature. The traveller who shivers after a January rainstorm finds it hard to believe that the Panjab plain is a part of the hottest region of the Old World which stretches from the Sahara to Delhi. If he had to spend the period from May to July there he would have small doubts on the subject. The heat begins to be unpleasant in April, when hot westernly winds prevail. An occasional thunderstorm with hail relieves the strain for a little. The warmest period of the year is May and June. But the intense dry heat is healthier and to many less trying than the mugginess of the rainy season. The dust-storms which used to be common have become rarer and lighter with the spread of canal irrigation in the western Panjab. The rains ought to break at Delhi in the end of June and at Lahore ten days or a fortnight later. There is often a long break when