At nine degrees below the average for this time of the year, Delhi on Friday recorded the day temperature of 12.1 degrees Celsius, the lowest in the last five years.
Even as people shivered in the biting cold, a thick fog cover that enveloped the city since early in the day further wreaked havoc with flight and train schedules, and slowed down vehicular movement across the 1,483 sq km of its territory.
"Today's day temperature is the lowest in the last five years. It was nine degrees below the average for this time of the year. Last year on this day, the maximum temperature was 22 degrees," an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) told IANS.
The minimum temperature recorded Friday was a notch above average at eight degrees Celsius. According to the IMD official, the narrowing gap between the minimum and the maximum temperatures of the day was the main reason for the biting chill.
IMD records say the maximum temperature on this day in 2005 was 21.8 degrees, 19.9 degrees in 2006, 18 degrees in 2007, 27 degrees in 2008 and 22 degrees in 2009.
Anjana Srivastava, a school teacher said: "While it's an everyday struggle to get out of the bed and go for work early in the morning, today was the worst. The cold was biting and the condition just didn't improve until the end of the day."
"It feels even worse to see the kids shivering in their uniforms and coming to classes," she added.
The general visibility in the city dropped to less than a metre or two early Friday and remained below 50 metres till 10 a.m. The condition improved only after 1 p.m.
"The visibility was badly affected because of the fog. At 5.30 p.m. it had improved to only 500 metres," the IMD official said.
Thousands of air and rail passengers had a harrowing time as the fog disrupted train and flight services for hours in the capital. Hundreds were stranded at the city's four major railway terminals, not knowing when the trains would arrive or depart.
Many said they were not informed about cancellations, rescheduling and delays of trains, or flights either at Delhi's international and domestic air terminals.
According to the Met department, the city will have to brace itself for severe fog conditions expected Saturday. The minimum and the maximum temperatures are expected to hover around nine and 14 degrees Celsius respectively.