A cold wave has gripped the nation and on Monday people witnessed a thick blanket of fog. With the mercury dipping with each passing day, the cold day conditions have prevailed over northern and central parts of India leading to cold wave to severe cold wave conditions over Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and west Uttar Pradesh and North Madhya Pradesh since December 26, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The IMD has predicted that cold wave conditions are very likely in isolated pockets over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and East Rajasthan on December 31 morning. A dense to very dense fog in some pockets over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi; in isolated pockets over north Rajasthan, north Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam & Meghalaya and Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura and dense fog in isolated pockets over Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh is also likely on December 31. However, its intensity is very likely to decrease significantly due to an increase in wind speed at lower levels from December 31 afternoon.
The national capital on Monday recorded the coldest day for December with Safdarjung recording the lowest maximum temperature of 9.4ﾟC. It is 11.4ﾟC below the normal temperature of 20.8ﾟC. It is the lowest ever day maximum temperature for December based on the data of 1901 onwards. It surpassed the earlier record of 11.3ﾟC on December 2, 1997, for December. Considering all the months, it has also surpassed the previous lowest day maximum temperature of 9.8ﾟC recorded on January 2, 2013.
In December 2019, the average monthly maximum temperature over Safdarjung till December 3 is 18.6ﾟC against the earlier record of 17.3ﾟC in December 1997. In terms of the total number of cold days, December 2019 has recorded 14 cold days/severe cold days while December 1997 had 17 such days. The dense fog over Delhi is the main cause for Monday's record-breaking lowest maximum temperature in Delhi.
Heavy fog disrupted flight operations at the Delhi airport with 20 flights diverted, 4 cancelled, and around 530 delayed till 12.52 pm, an official said. Besides, at least 30 Delhi-bound trains were delayed by up to seven hours due to the low visibility and dense fog. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital also took a beating on Monday as it stood at 449 with particulate matter (PM) 2.5, the Met officials said.
Jaipur on Monday recorded the second lowest-ever temperature in 55 years at 1.4 degrees Celsius as a cold wave continued to sweep Rajasthan, according to weather officials. Rajasthan's capital had registered its lowest ever temperature at 0 degree Celsius on December 13, 1964. For the last four days, the temperature has been dipping in Rajasthan. On December 29, Mount Abu was the coldest at -3 degrees.
Most parts of Punjab and Haryana also saw a slight rise in the mercury despite dense fog and Faridkot town was the coldest in the region with a minimum temperature of 0.7 degree Celsius, a weather official said on Monday. The weather official in Chandigarh told IANS, "We have recorded a slight rise in the mercury in most parts of Punjab and Haryana. We have predicted a dip, especially during nights, in the coming days." Punjab`s Amritsar city recorded 1.2 degrees Celsius, two degrees below normal for this time of the season, and industrial city Ludhiana and Patiala registered a minimum temperature of 4.6 and 4.5 degrees Celsius, respectively.