Chandigarh colder than Manali on Christmas

Mercury took a plunge, giving locals the chills amid cold winds blowing at speeds up to 10km/hour
By Rajanbir Singh
UPDATED ON DEC 26, 2019 12:35 AM IST

CHANDIGARH Chandigarh might never witness a white Christmas, but the mercury took a plunge, giving locals the chills amid cold winds blowing at speeds up to 10 km/hour on Wednesday.

Maximum temperature dropped below 10°C for the first time this season, peaking at just 9°C, as much as 12 notches below normal. It was recorded at 13.4°C on Tuesday.

It meant the city was colder than all major hill stations of Himachal Pradesh and nearly as cold as Srinagar during the day. Also, it was the coldest December day in the city in the past six years. It was in 2014 when maximum temperature was recorded this low in December.

Not just maximum temperature, even the minimum was the lowest this season. It fell to 6.9°C degrees in the wee hours, down from 9.2°C the previous night, but still a notch above normal.

In fact, there was a difference of only two degrees between maximum and minimum temperatures on Wednesday. A rare occurrence, India Meteorological Department (IMD) regional director Surender Paul said these conditions arise amid dense fog.

“Dense fog that doesn’t clear throughout the day keeps away sunlight and prevents maximum temperature from rising. The same fog traps whatever heat there is and coupled with humidity, it keeps minimum temperature from falling too much at night,” he said, adding that a similar trend is expected in the coming days but the difference between maximum and minimum temperatures is unlikely to get lower than two degrees.

Confirming that a further drop in temperature is on the cards, IMD officials said an alert for “severe cold day” has been sounded for the next four days. A severe cold day is defined as a day when maximum temperature falls by more than 6.4 degrees below normal, while minimum temperature goes below 10°C.

Even as the IMD bulletin stated that in the next three days, maximum temperature is expected to remain between 11 and 12 degrees while minimum will be between 7 and 8 degrees, Paul said both maximum and minimum temperatures could fall by a degree or two in the coming days.

Fog to keep away sunlight

Paul said advection fog (produced when air that is warmer and more moist than the ground surface moves over the ground surface) has formed in the region due to the effect of western disturbances that passed over the region recently and interacted with the easterly winds.

“With no winds, it is unlikely that the fog layer that has formed low clouds over the region will get dispersed. The cold air touching the ground isn’t warming up; so the fog is not clearing. There will be almost no sunlight in the coming days, and any period of sunlight will be brief,” he said.

Further explaining the drop in maximum temperature, Paul attributed it to the effect of easterly winds in the region this year, which remained absent in previous years. “However, the fog is keeping the minimum temperature from falling too low. As soon as fog clears, there will be a plunge in minimum temperature too. Due to the erratic nature of the winters this year, a minimum temperature of 0 to 1 degree is possible in the city, especially in the first week of January,” he said.

Meanwhile, visibility was recorded at 400 metre around 8:30am at the IMD observatory in Sector 39. It went up to 1,000 metre by 5:30 in the evening. “Due to high humidity and low temperatures during the day, dense to very dense fog is likely in the coming days and visibility may fall below 100 metre. Precautions should be taken while driving, especially in the early hours,” said Paul.

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