As many as 19 Delhi-bound trains were delayed by several hours as foggy weather conditions prevailed in parts of North India. According to a senior official of the Northern Railway, Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express was delayed by seven hours, followed by Nanded-Amritsar Sachkhand Express running behind schedule by six hours. Jabalpur-Hazrat Nizamuddin Express, Hyderabad-New Delhi Telangana Express and Lok Manya Tilak-Haridwar Express were also delayed by five hours.
Running late by three hours and 30 minutes was the Katra-Manglore Navyug Express, followed by the Howrah-New Delhi Poorva Express which was delayed by three hours. At least 21 Delhi-bound trains were running late on Thursday as well.
Delhi recorded an above-normal maximum temperature for a second consecutive day on Thursday after remaining in the grip of a prolonged cold spell, the longest since 1992. The city recorded a high of 23 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal, and a low of 4.6 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal.
With a slight rise in mercury, Delhiites received slight respite from coldwave in the past two days. The minimum temperature, however, is expected to rise to 7 degrees Celsius in the next two days, weather experts said.
Punjab, Haryana in coldwave grip
Coldwave conditions continued unabated in Punjab and Haryana where Bathinda and Faridkot were the coldest places, recording a minimum of 3 degrees Celsius. Pathankot, Adampur, Halwara and Gurdaspur shivered at 3.3, 3.1, 5.2 and 6.2 degrees Celsius respectively,an official of the Meteorological Department said on Friday.
Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala braved the chill at 4.4, 7.2 and 6.2 degrees Celsius respectively. In Haryana, Ambala, Hisar and Karnal recorded their respective minimums at 6.2, 5.7 and 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Narnaul, Rohtak, Bhiwani and Sirsa experienced cold wave conditions at 5.5, 7.4, 6.7 and 6.4 degrees Celsius respectively. Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, recorded its minimum of 6.5 degrees Celsius, one notch above normal.
A thick blanket of fog enveloped several places including, Faridkot, Patiala, Bathinda, Adampur, Halwara, Hisar and Bhiwani.
Air quality in Delhi improves
The national capital on Friday recorded its air quality as 'very poor', a slight improvement from the earlier recorded 'severe'. At 9 in the morning, the overall AQI docked at 393 with PM 10 at 393 and PM 2.5 at 241.
According to data provided by Centre run-System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), AQI recorded at IIT Delhi was at 393 ('severe' category), Chandni Chowk 452 ('very poor' category) and at Mathura Road at 482 (severe category) at 9 in the morning.
On Thursday the pollution level of the national capital remained in the 'severe' category with AQI crossing 400.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301 400 very poor and 401-500 is marked as severe/hazardous.
In an advisory, SAFAR has advised people to avoid physical outdoor activities including morning walks. "Stop any physical activity if you feel unusual coughing, chest discomfort, breathing difficulty or fatigue," it said.
It has also advised people to keep windows of their houses closed and asthmatics to keep medicines handy.