Cold, fog persist in Delhi; IMD says relief this week
Extreme cold and dense fog continued its onslaught as Delhi on Sunday registered its 16th successive “severe cold day”, the longest spell of such weather conditions in December in the past 22 years, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
IMD said that the city will get some relief from Monday as temperatures are expected to rise by a few degrees.
On Sunday, the minimum temperature recorded at the Safdarjung observatory, whose reading is considered the official marking for the city, touched 3.4 degrees Celsius, four degrees below the season’s normal, while the maximum settled at 15.8 degrees Celsius, five degrees below normal.
In Palam, the minimum temperature was 3.2 degrees Celsius, four degrees below normal, while the maximum was 13.5 degrees Celsius, seven degrees below normal, making Sunday a “severe cold day”. The previous record for continuous “severe cold days” in December was set in 1997 when Delhi saw 13 such days in a row.
The IMD classifies a “severe cold day” as one in which the maximum temperature of the day is at least 6.4 degrees below the season’s normal, while the minimum temperature is under 10 degrees Celsius.
The lowest temperature recorded in Delhi on Sunday was at Ayanagar — 2.5 degrees Celsius.
On Saturday, at 2.4 degrees Celsius, Delhi recorded its lowest minimum temperature in over two decades while the maximum was at 13.3 degrees Celsius.
On Sunday, dense fog continued to envelop the city. Thirteen trains were delayed by over six hours. However, no cancellations or diversions of flights were reported at Delhi airport, officials said.
Scientists said Delhi residents will get some relief from Monday as temperatures are expected to rise by a few degrees. This will be because of a change in the wind direction from northwesterly to easterly.
“As we had forecast, a change in the wind direction from northwesterly to easterly has started and the reduction in the intensity of cold days and cold wave has already started from today (Sunday). This can be seen in the increase in the maximum and minimum temperatures,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of IMD’s Regional Weather Forecasting Centre at Delhi.
The mean maximum temperature for December so far this year is 19.18°C. Scientists at IMD said there is a high chance that this December will be the second coldest in the past century. The lowest mean maximum for December ever recorded was in 1997 — 17.3 degrees Celsius.
IMD has also detected an upcoming western disturbance from December 31, which is likely to affect the western Himalayan region. The western disturbance is expected to bring rain and hailstorm in parts of the Capital between January 1 and January 2.
“From tomorrow (Monday) the maximum and minimum temperature will rise, but after the rainfall there will be a slight dip again,” Srivastava said.
Meanwhile, the thick cloud cover over the entire northern region, increase in humidity levels and low temperatures pushed the air quality deeper into the “severe” category in Delhi. The air quality index (AQI) on Sunday was recorded at 431. On Saturday, AQI was 409, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.
In Haryana, where the minimum temperatures have been hovering close to the freezing point, the state government announced the closure of schools on December 30 and 31.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the fringes of the Dal Lake froze on Sunday as the mercury continued its freefall in Srinagar, which experienced the coldest night of the season at -6.2 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature across the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh Union Territory stayed several degrees below the freezing point.
The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded the low of -6.6 degrees Celsius on Sunday, up from Saturday night’s -7.5 degrees Celsius, IMD officials said. The town of Drass froze at a low of -28.7 degrees Celsius. The Met office has forecast rains and snowfall in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh on New Year’s Eve, while isolated places in the plains and low hills of Himachal may get rain on January 1 and 2.
In Rajasthan, Jaipur’s minimum temperature settled at 1.4 degrees Celsius — the lowest since 1964. Sikar recorded 0°C followed by Churu (1.2°C), Pilani (1.6°C), Banasthali (1.8°C) and Bikaner (2.6°C). In UP, dry weather persisted while cold wave intensified in most parts. According to IMD, rain is likely to lash eastern and western parts of the state on December 31 and January 1, 2020.