The sun was up and shining on Thursday, the chill’s back and a steady wind blew away the hazardous smog that enveloped the national capital for the past fortnight.
Delhi woke up to a foggy, nippy morning with the minimum temperature dropping to 11.2 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season’s average.
Although the weather office declared winter’s arrival on November 23, the mercury didn’t dip below 13.5 degrees Celsius on Wednesday and it was quite warm during the day because of the haze trapping thermals rising from the ground.
The smog, blamed on toxic fumes from Delhi’s burgeoning number of cars as well as burning of crop stubble in neigbouring states, cleared on Thursday. The skies were clear through the day while a shallow fog that silhouetted buildings early in the morning disappeared by 10am.
The average reading of the national air quality index was “very poor” at 10am. Anand Vihar, which has become a top polluted place in the city, recorded PM2.5 level of 241 at 2.50pm. Any reading around the 400 range is considered hazardous, or extremely dangerous.
PM2.5 are fine dust particles floating in the air that cause maximum breathing discomfort and most harmful to human lungs.
As Delhi owes its chill mainly to conditions up north in the hills, the situation across Kashmir Valley and the Ladakh region on Thursday provided a good reason for people in Delhi to bring out the blankets — if anyone hasn’t already.
The wind blowing from the north was cold as the mercury stayed below freezing point in most of Kashmir. Leh was the coldest at -9.7 degrees Celsius while Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of -1.2 degrees Celsius.
The Met office predicted mainly dry weather for the week ahead.
(With inputs from Agencies)