Delhi's minimum temperature dipped to 14.6 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, the lowest this season so far, and it is expected to drop further owing to cold north-westerly winds from the Himalayas, government agencies said.
The dip in mercury and an increase in stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab pushed Delhi's air quality to 'poor' zone on Wednesday. It is expected to slip to the 'very poor' category by Thursday, they said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the Safdarjung Observatory, considered the official marker for the city, recorded a maximum temperature of 28.2 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal.
An IMD forecast said the minimum temperature is likely to dip to 13 degrees Celsius by November 1.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 232 on Wednesday. It was 139 on Tuesday, 82 on Monday and 160 on Sunday.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences' forecast agency SAFAR said the national capital's air quality will slip to the 'very poor' category by Thursday.
It said a rise in farm fires over north India in the next three days will increase Delhi's PM 2.5 pollution level. The share of smoke from stubble burning in the city's pollution rose to 16 per cent on Wednesday.
SAFAR said 656 farm fires were recorded in the northwest region of Delhi on Tuesday.