National capital woke up to a chilly morning on Thursday. The mercury dropped to a low of 4 degrees Celsius and was the lowest temperature so far this winter in the city, an official said. The cold wave conditions are likely to prevail till December 22, according to Meteorological (MeT) Department. "The minimum temperature was recorded at 4 degrees Celsius, four notches below the season's average. It is the lowest temperature recorded so far in this month," the official of the department said. However, the weatherman has forecast clear skies throughout the day. "The skies will remain clear and the maximum temperature is expected to hover around 22 degrees Celsius," the weatherman said. The humidity level recorded at 8.30 am was 94 per cent, he said.
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On Wednesday, the minimum temperature settled at 5.2 degrees Celsius, while the maximum temperature was recorded at 22.3 degrees Celsius. According to IMD officials, the main reasons behind the unusual drop in minimum temperature was clear skies and strong cold winds blowing over Delhi due to heavy snowfall in parts of northwest India.
“The heavy snowfall — early for this time of the year — in Jammu and Kashmir, parts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, has triggered cold winds that are reaching Delhi. The predicted cold wave conditions are mainly because the sky is clear and in the absence of any cloud layer, the cold winds rapidly cools the earth. This phenomenon is called radiation cooling,” the Hindustan Times quoted Kuldeep Srivastava, head of regional weather forecasting centre (RWFC), IMD as saying.
Delhi is also witnessing severe air quality and on Thursday was recorded in the ‘very poor' category. The major pollutants PM 2.5 were recorded at 405 and PM 10 at 414 (poor category) in the RK Puram area. In the Anand Vihar area, the Air Quality Index (AQI) PM 2.5 was at 416 and PM 10 at 668, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). At the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium area, PM 2.5 was at 363 and PM 10 at 369. AQI at Punjabi Bagh Delhi was recorded poor, PM 2.5 was at 392 while the PM 10 was at 357.
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Delhi is reeling under the menace of air pollution for the past couple of years. The region faced a major air quality crisis last year when severe pollution level forced the shutdown of schools and colleges. In 2016, the government tried to explore the possibility of cloud seeding for artificial rain but the plan never worked out.