Cold weather conditions eased on Thursday with the mercury rising 3-4°C in most parts of Delhi. Even while air quality deteriorates to the very poor category and isolated drizzles or very light rains are expected later in the day.
The city’s main weather station, Safdarjung, recorded a low of 5.6°C, one place below normal but three places above Wednesday’s 2.6°C. Increased minimum temperatures were expected to continue over the next five days due to successive western disturbances.
Wednesday is the 3rd consecutive one-file and the 8th one-file this month. January recorded the second highest number of cold wave days in 31 years.
According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) data, Delhi recorded 12 days in January 2008 and 7 days in 1997, 1998 and 2021 respectively.
The number of cold wave days was recorded for 5 consecutive days from January 5 to January 9 this year, and along with 2013, was the highest among the recent 31 years.
The IMD declares a cold wave for the region when the minimum temperature falls at least 4.5°C below normal or below 4°C.
An IMD official said, “The first cold wave felt colder because northwest winds and fog came up to the upper floors during the day and blocked sunlight.” “The daytime temperature was also low. In this second spell, we saw clear skies and the impact was mainly of a strong cold northwest wind, this time faster and stronger than in the last spell between January 5 and 9,” the official said.
Officials said both spells occurred after snow fell in higher areas and the effects were felt across the plains.
Two western disturbances were expected to bring rain to the city. “The first western disturbance will affect Delhi on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th January, with a chance of drizzle on Thursday night. The second will affect the western Himalayas more intensely from the night of January 20th to January 26th.”
Officials said the northwestern plains would be affected from January 23 to 25, with light rain expected on both days on January 24, with winds reaching 30-40 kilometers per hour.
Sunny days continued despite low temperatures. The highest recorded on Wednesday was 19.6°C. The mercury was expected to rise to 21°C on Thursday and Friday.
The air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 8 AM on Thursday at 322 (very bad) compared to 306 at 4 PM on Wednesday. A return to the bad category is likely by Friday due to increased rain and wind speeds.
An AQI of 0 to 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 satisfactory, 101 to 200 fair, 201 to 300 poor, 301 to 400 very poor, and 400 and above very poor.