Chilly start to 2024, max mercury in Delhi levels off at 17°C | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Chilly start to 2024, max mercury in Delhi levels off at 17°C

Jan 02, 2024 04:55 AM IST

The maximum is expected to remain around 17°C for the next three days. Despite the cold weather, it was the warmest December in the last six years for the city.

Delhi’s peak daytime temperature rose slightly on Monday to 17°C, up from the 15.9°C a day earlier, as some sunshine helped break the grey days that marked the end of 2023, although strong winds meant the outdoors still felt fairly frosty.

People huddle around a bonfire near Mayur Vihar. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)
People huddle around a bonfire near Mayur Vihar. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

The Capital and its surrounding cities recorded their coldest day of the season on Sunday, with the difference between the lowest nighttime temperature and the highest daytime temperature being as little as 1.4°C at some weather stations in NCR. On Monday, this difference was 6°C at Safdarjung, slightly better than 4.2°C the day before .

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast Delhi’s maximum to remain around 17°C over the next three days as well, with no significant change expected.

IMD officials said Delhi recorded a visibility of over 500 metres as shallow fog was prevalent. But, similar to the last two days, a thick layer of fog has persisted in the upper levels of the atmosphere, preventing bright sunshine that usually lifts temperatures into the twenties during the afternoon.

Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD, said the situation improved slightly on Sunday, when some places saw sunlight for a brief period. “In the afternoon, the fog weakened in some places and sunlight was visible. However, northwesterly, icy cold winds are also blowing, which have kept the maximum temperature still below normal,” Srivastava said, stating this layer of fog should persist at the upper level over the next two to three days.

The lowest maximum across the city was recorded at southwest Delhi’s Jafarpur at 12.4 degrees Celsius. This was followed by 14.0 degrees Celsius at Narela.

At Safdarjung, representative of Delhi’s official overall weather, the minimum was 10.1°C, three degrees above normal. It was 11.7°C a day earlier. A high minimum meant that the IMD did not classify Monday as a “cold day”. Forecast for Tuesday showed the minimum will drop to around 9 degrees Celsius.

A “cold day” is marked when the maximum temperature is 4.5 degrees or more below normal, with the minimum also being below 10 degrees Celsius. While the first criterion was met at several stations on Monday, Delhi’s minimum temperature was above 10 degrees Celsius at most stations. “Officially, it was not a cold day, however, the difference between maximum and minimum temperature was again low, meaning the cold was more tangible, even during daytime,” Srivastava added.

While no flights were impacted at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, at least 20 trains – to and from Delhi – were delayed by more than one hour, said the Northern Railway.

Despite a chilly end to December, it was still the warmest December for Delhi in the last six years. The average maximum temperature this month has been 23.7 degrees Celsius – Delhi’s highest for December since it was 24.1 degrees Celsius in December 2017. The long period average (LPA) for December’s maximum is 22.8 degrees Celsius. The average minimum or night-time temperature was above normal too and was recorded at 8.5 degrees Celsius, 0.1 degrees above LPA. The last time it was higher was in 2017, when it was 9.1 degrees Celsius.

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