NEW DELHI: Despite clear skies and plenty of sunshine, the minimum temperature remained close to four degrees Celsius in most parts of the national capital on Thursday, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.
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Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded a minimum temperature of 4.6 degrees Celsius as freezing winds from the western Himalayas continued to sweep across Delhi.
Weather stations Ayanagar and Ridge recorded minimum temperatures of 3.8 degrees Celsius and 3.5 degrees Celsius, respectively.
The maximum temperature is likely to stabilize around 18 degrees Celsius, the IMD said, predicting “cold day” conditions in some places.
IMD had declared a cold spell in Delhi on Tuesday as freezing winds blowing from the snow-covered western Himalayas brought the minimum temperature down to 4.1 degrees Celsius, the city’s lowest this season so far.
According to the IMD, minimum temperatures are expected to remain around five degrees Celsius until Friday.
Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of IMD’s regional forecasting center, said the western Himalayas experienced widespread snowfall due to severe westerly disturbances and that freezing winds have now blown towards the plains, causing the mercury to drop.
For the lowlands, the IMD declares a cold wave when the minimum temperature is 10 degrees Celsius or lower and is 4.5 notches lower than normal for two consecutive days.
“However, for small areas like Delhi, a cold spell can be declared if the criteria are met for even one day,” Srivastava said.
A “cold day” is when the minimum temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius and the maximum is 4.4 degrees Celsius below normal.
The air quality was recorded in the “poor” category.
The city’s air quality index (AQI) was 248 at 11:00. The average 24-hour AQI was 262 on Wednesday and 230 on Tuesday.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor” and 401 and 500 “severe”.