Icy winds from the Himalayas brought winter-like chill to the Capital on Wednesday, sending Delhiites scrambling for their woollens at a time they had thought the cold season was all but over.
With the wind-chill factor at play, the “felt temperature” was a few degrees cooler than what the weatherman’s reading suggested. Therefore, although the minimum temperature was 11.5° Celsius — warm for February — it felt like 8° C.
“Minus the wind, the nip in the air would have been absent. These are dry winds from the mountains, following the rain bearing clouds that passed over Delhi causing some thundershowers,” said S.C. Bhan, director of India Meteorological Department’s Safdarjung unit.
The nagging wind kept stinging Delhiites throughout the day at an average speed of around 20 km/hr. In the morning the speed was up at 25km/hr, the Met office said.
The Western Disturbance (the system of rainbearing clouds that has caused the change in weather over the past 48 hours) left a trail of grey clouds over the sky, keeping the sun in check behind its veil. As a result, the maximum temperature at 19.3° C was four degrees below normal.
In the past 40 years, day temperatures in February have gone below 19° C for 31 years. “The coldest maximum temperature for the month was on February 1, 1970, at 12.3° C,” Bhan said.
For those who had packed their woollens after this season’s record warmth, Wednesday’s winter redux hit hard. “We had to bring out the heavy quilts and put on pullovers to step out,” said Sakshi Gaur, a housewife at Gulmohar Park in south Delhi.
Parks saw fewer walkers and joggers this morning while the elderly avoided sunning in the noon. “There was no point as the sun hardly showed up,” said Baldev Sahni, a 70-year-old at Safdarjung Enclave.
Chilly winds will persist over the next two days and could possibly bring in some moisture as well, said the government’s National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting. Mornings could be foggy in the next two days, its five-day forecast said. Temperatures would vary between 9-23° C.