Avalanche alerts in J&K, Srinagar cut off; IMD issues yellow alert for Delhi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Avalanche alerts in J&K, Srinagar cut off; IMD issues yellow alert for Delhi

By, New Delhi
Feb 05, 2024 07:39 AM IST

The weather has seen a sharp turnaround this month, with record rainfall in Delhi. Despite the rain, Delhi's pollution levels remained poor.

A fresh western disturbance brought havoc to the hills on Sunday, caking large swathes of northwestern India in snow, and effectively blocking off Srinagar from the rest of the country, as the precipitation cut off roads and grounded flights. Delhi, meanwhile, woke up to another unusually damp and gloomy February morning after an overnight spell of showers, even as the weather office issued a yellow alert, warning that a dense fog may blanket the city early on Monday.

A sheet of snow blankets the Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Sunday. (Waseem Andrabi /HT Photo)
A sheet of snow blankets the Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Sunday. (Waseem Andrabi /HT Photo)

Authorities up north scrambled to contain the fall-out from an unusually late spell of cold weather, especially after a relatively warm January — Jammu & Kashmir issued avalanche alerts across eight districts for Monday and urged people to stay indoors, while the India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned of fresh snowfall and moderate rain.

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The ceaseless snowfall forced authorities to shut the Srinagar airport and cancel all flights headed into or out of Jammu & Kashmir’s summer capital. In Jammu, a landslide along the crucial 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway around 11.15am brought traffic to a halt for hours.

The national capital’s weather has also seen a sharp turnaround this month, with the rain already touching record levels, after a bone-dry start to 2024.

Read Here: Cold weather conditions continue in Punjab, Haryana

Sunday morning’s spell of showers (2.8mm) in Delhi took the month’s total rainfall to 29.9mm and gave the city its wettest February in a decade, with 25 days of the month still to go. The Capital last received more rain in February 2014, when it logged 48.8mm of precipitation.

“The presence of moisture in the atmosphere means there are chances of dense fog on Monday morning,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD.

The fog is likely to hobble flight and train schedules once more, in what has been a recurrent trend this winter, leaving passengers stranded at airports and stations for hours on end. Delays at the Delhi airport also have a knock-on effect at airports across the country, throwing flight schedules on major routes into disarray.

However, the Capital is unlikely to receive any rainfall this week, said the weather office, adding that minimum temperatures will drop from Tuesday, with strong winds likely to sweep through the city on Wednesday and Thursday.

Delhi on Sunday clocked a maximum temperature of 20.3°C — two degrees below normal. The minimum, meanwhile, was 11.9°C — three above normal.

IMD data showed that in the 24 hours between 8.30am on Saturday and 8.30am on Sunday, Safdarjung received 2.6mm of rainfall. It added another 0.2mm in the next nine hours. Palam recorded 3.1mm till 5.30pm, Lodhi Road 2.4mm, Ayanagar 3.5mm and Mayur Vihar 2mm.

Watch | J&K's Gulmarg covered in thick blanket of snow

Across the National Capital Region (NCR), Gurugram recorded 3.5mm of rainfall till 5.30 pm and Noida 2mm.

Despite the rain, Delhi’s pollution levels remained in the “poor” zone, with a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 274 at 4pm on Sunday. It was 200 (moderate) at the same time on Saturday. The impact of rain and strong winds is expected to bring Delhi’s air quality back to “moderate” on Monday.

“Delhi’s air quality is likely to be in the ‘moderate’ category on February 5, but it will return to the ‘poor’ category on February 6 and 7. The outlook for the subsequent six days shows air quality is likely to remain in the ‘poor’ category.” said the Centre’s Early Warning System (EWS) for Delhi, a forecasting model used by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM).

The CPCB classifies an AQI between 0-50 as “good”, between 51 and 100 as “satisfactory”, between 101 and 200 as “moderate”, between 201 and 300 as “poor”, between 301 and 400 as “very poor”, and over 400 as “severe”.

January ended with Delhi only recording “trace” rainfall and a deficit of 100% as compared to the monthly long period average (LPA) of 19.1mm. In comparison, Delhi crossed its monthly LPA for February (21.3mm) on the first day of February itself, when 27.1mm was recorded across the city.

Last February, Delhi recorded no rain throughout the month, but in 2022, it saw 29.7mm. In 2021 and 2022, it recorded 2.6mm and 1.8mm of rainfall respectively through the month. IMD data available from 2009 shows the highest February rainfall during this period has been 103.1mm in 2013.

(With agency inputs)

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