Fifth straight ‘cold wave’ day in Delhi, minimum at 3.5°C | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Fifth straight ‘cold wave’ day in Delhi, minimum at 3.5°C

Jan 17, 2024 05:00 AM IST

Delhi experienced a fifth straight cold wave day with temperatures dropping to 3.5°C. The India Meteorological Department issued an orange alert for chilly temperatures and dense fog in some parts of the city. The cold wave is expected to continue for the next two days at least. However, there was some relief for mass transit users as the dense fog spell was shorter on Tuesday, resulting in fewer flight and train delays compared to the previous days. Delhi's air quality remained "very poor" for the 14th consecutive day.

Delhi shivered through a fifth straight cold wave day on Tuesday, when a minimum temperature of 3.5°C and breezy winds kept the Capital in a frosty grip, even as the fog let-up marginally, with fewer interruptions to flight and train operations than over the past four days.

The women’s contingent of the SSB rehearses for the Republic Day Parade at Kartavya Path in New Delhi on Tuesday morning. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
The women’s contingent of the SSB rehearses for the Republic Day Parade at Kartavya Path in New Delhi on Tuesday morning. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

Still, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued an orange alert for Wednesday and Thursday, warning of chilly temperatures and dense fog in some parts of the city.

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Tuesday’s minimum was four degrees below normal, and the fifth straight day it has been below 4°C. It was 3.3°C on Monday, 3.5°C on Sunday, 3.6°C on Saturday and 3.9°C on Friday.

The Capital’s longest cold wave spell last year was also five days long, between January 5 and 9, showed IMD data.

Delhi’s maximum temperature, meanwhile, was 17.4°C, two degrees below normal, and a drop from 19.7°C a day ago.

IMD officials said the cold wave is unlikely to relent for the next two days at least.

“We are not seeing any significant change in the weather and so the minimum is not rising or dipping too rapidly. We expect cold wave conditions to persist for the next two days as well, with the minimum likely to be around 4°C at Safdarjung,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD.

Mass transit users were in for some reprieve on Tuesday, as a shorter spell of dense fog kept major flight and train delays at bay, after a brutal four days when travellers were caught up in hours-long hold-ups at airports and railway stations.

Dense fog – when visibility is below 200 metres — cover lasted only for two hours on Tuesday morning, between 7am and 9am. The visibility dropped to zero for just half an hour, from 7.30am and 8am, said weather officials. Airport authorities said 50 flights were delayed, eight were cancelled. No diversions were reported on Tuesday.

In comparison, the visibility was zero for five hours on Sunday and 2.5 hours on Monday, with close to 800 flights diverted, over 40 cancelled and 15 diverted over the last three days.

“The visibility improved on Tuesday. It was up to 100 metres by 9am and then 500 metres in the next hour,” said IMD scientist Kuldeep Srivastava.

The IMD classifies fog as ‘shallow’ when visibility is between 500 and 1,000 metres; ‘moderate’ when it is between 200 and 500 metres; ‘dense’ when it is between 50 and 200 metres and ‘very dense’ when it is 50 metres or lower.

Srivastava said there were chances of moderate fog in the early hours of Wednesday till around 4am, with the cover likely to get thicker till around 9am.

IMD officials also said the cold is unlikely to relent for two days at least, with temperatures likely to dip only from Friday, when the fog is likely to lift as well.

The minimum is forecast to gradually rise to 5°C on Friday and to 6°C on Saturday, said Srivastava.

“The fog’s intensity will marginally reduce in the next 72 hours, with very dense fog likely on Wednesday morning, but only dense fog could be possible from Thursday until Saturday,” he added.

However, Delhi’s air remained toxic once again on Tuesday, with pollution levels in the “very poor” for the 14th day this year.

The Capital logged a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 377 at 4pm on Sunday, worse than 359 a day earlier.

Pollution levels have been steep throughout the first half of January, with one poor and one “severe” air day so far.

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