Delhiites woke up to a chilly morning on Thursday with minimum temperature dipping to 5 degree Celsius, 3 degrees below normal, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD)’s Mausam app. A thick blanket of fog enveloped the city as a icy cold wave from snow-covered western Himalayas over Delhi dropped the mercury further. The IMD has predicted a maximum temperature of 18 degrees Celsius today, four notches below normal.
The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded a minimum temperature of 4.6 degrees Celsius as frosty winds from the western Himalayas continued to sweep across Delhi.
The Ayanagar and Ridge weather stations recorded minimum temperatures of 3.8 degrees Celsius and 3.5 degrees Celsius, respectively.
The national capital recorded the lowest temperature of the season so far on Tuesday with the mercury dipping to 4.1 degrees Celsius.
IMD scientists said Delhi has been reeling under a cold spell as it has recorded more than two “cold days” in a row now. However, there was no cold wave on Wednesday in Delhi as the minimum temperature was 5.8 degrees Celsius but does not meet the cold wave criteria.
People were also seen sitting near the fire to protect themselves from the cold in Anand Vihar area.
The IMD also said that "Cold Day to severe cold day conditions is very likely in some pockets over Punjab and Haryana & Chandigarh; in isolated pockets over Delhi, north Rajasthan and West Uttar Pradesh during next 24 hours."
Just two days after remaining in the 'moderate category', Delhi's Air Quality Index (AQI) has slipped into 'poor category' by reporting an overall AQI of 252, according to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
SAFAR stated, "The overall air quality is at the higher end of the Poor category as forecasted. Surface-level winds are moderate and westerly. The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to fall and cold wave conditions are likely. However, better ventilation conditions are forecasted for the next two days due to high winds and deepen nocturnal boundary layer height. Hence, AQI is forecasted to improve on 16th and 17th December from 'Poor to Moderate category' which will not last long. AQI is forecasted to slip to the poor category on 18th December and further deterioration is expected on 19th December."
Areas near Delhi University, IIT Delhi, Lodhi Road reported 'poor' air quality, SAFAR stated.
An AQI between 0-50 is marked good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101- 200 is moderate, 201- 300 is poor, 301-400 is very poor and 401-500 is considered severe.