Delhi’s minimum temperature on Wednesday morning plunged to 4.4 degrees Celsius — the season’s lowest — making the national capital colder than Dharamsala, Nainital and Dehradun.
A dense layer of fog lowered visibility to 200 metres, affecting the movement of road and rail traffic.
At least 19 trains to Delhi were delayed by one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half hours due to the foggy weather, a Railways spokesperson said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) shared satellite images that showed a thick layer of fog over the Indo-Gangetic plains and adjoining central and eastern parts of the country.
“Fog/low cloud layer persists over north and central parts of India, covering large parts of the country and causing ‘cold day’ to ‘severe cold day’. (A) cold wave (was) recorded over isolated pockets of Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan,” an IMD official said.
The Palam observatory at the Indira Gandhi International Airport logged a visibility level of 200 meters at 5.30 am.
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According to the weather office, ‘very dense’ fog is when visibility is between 0 and 50 meters, 51 and 200 meters is ‘dense’, 201 and 500 meters ‘moderate’, and 501 and 1,000 meters ‘shallow’.
With frosty winds from the snow-clad Himalayas barreling through the plains, the Safdarjung observatory, Delhi’s primary weather station, saw the minimum temperature plummet to 4.4 degrees Celsius from 8.5 degrees a day ago.
Delhi’s minimum temperature was lower than that of Dharamsala (5.2 degrees), Nainital (6 degrees) and Dehradun (4.5 degrees).
The Delhi Ridge weather station near Delhi University recorded a cold wave with a minimum temperature of 3.3 degrees Celsius, the lowest in the capital on Wednesday.
Coldwave conditions are predicted in the national capital during the next three days and the mercury may drop to 4 degrees, the IMD has predicted.
The cold snap is expected to strain power grids and pose challenges to homeless people.
‘Cold day’ conditions had gripped Delhi on Tuesday with the maximum temperature dropping five degrees below normal in many places in the national capital, including Lodhi Road, Palam, Jafarpur and Mayur Vihar.
A cold day is when the minimum temperature is less than or equal to 10 degrees Celsius below the normal and the maximum temperature is at least 4.5 degrees Celsius below normal.
The IMD has predicted dense to very dense fog and cold day conditions over northwest India during the next four to five days.
Coldwave conditions are likely to continue over northwest India during the next two days and the intensity will decrease thereafter, it said.
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A cold wave is declared if the minimum temperature dips to four degrees Celsius or when the minimum temperature is 10 degrees Celsius or below and is 4.5 notches below normal.