Cold conditions intensified in parts of north India on Tuesday and dense fog engulfed many states as Delhi registered its lowest minimum temperature of the season so far while night temperatures in Kashmir dipped below the freezing point. Foggy conditions prevailed in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh witnessed very light rains at isolated places, while temperatures hovered below normal limits in Haryana and Punjab.
In Himachal Pradesh, Keylong and Kalpa recorded sub-zero temperatures despite dry weather in the state in the last 24 hours. The national capital was gripped by a cold wave as the icy winds blowing from snow-covered western Himalayas brought the minimum temperature down to 4.1 degrees Celsius, the lowest in the city this season so far, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The maximum temperature also dipped to 18.5 degrees Celsius, over four notches below normal, the weather department said. At 4.1 degrees Celsius, the minimum temperature at Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, was five notches below normal on Tuesday morning.
At Jafarpur, the mercury dipped to 3.6 degrees Celsius. The Ayanagar and Lodhi Road weather stations recorded a minimum of 4 degrees Celsius and 4.2 degrees Celsius, respectively, the IMD said.
Last year, the minimum temperature had dropped below the five-degree mark in the last week of December. According to the IMD, the mercury is set to dip further.
The air quality was recorded in the "poor" category in Delhi. The city's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was 230. It was160 on Monday, 305 on Sunday and 356 on Saturday. 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".
In the Kashmir Valley, night temperatures dipped below the freezing point owing to a clear sky, with the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg shivering at minus 10.2 degrees Celsius, Meteorological (MeT) Department officials said. All weather stations in the Valley recorded sub-zero night temperatures several degrees below the normal for this part of the season, the officials said.
They said the temperature in Gulmarg, the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius, which is six degrees below the normal for this time of the season. The resort was the coldest recorded place in the UT, the Met officials said.
Churu was the coldest place in Rajasthan with a minimum of 5.2 degrees Celsius followed by Pilani where the night temperature was 5.3 degrees Celsius, the MeT Department said. Bikaner, Ganganagar, Phalodi, Sikar, Jaisalmer and Alwar recorded a minimum of 5.6, 6.4, 6.6, 7, 7.4 and 8 degrees Celsius, respectively. In Himachal Pradesh, the tribal district Lahaul-Spiti's administrative centre Keylong were the coldest place in the state at minus 6.4 degrees Celsius. Kalpa in Kinnaur district registered a low of minus 1.7 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature in Manali, Dalhousie and Kufri was recorded at 0.2, 1.4 and 2.8 degrees Celsius, respectively. Shimla recorded a low of 3.6 degrees Celsius, Singh added In Haryana and Punjab, the temperatures hovered below normal limits, with Hisar reeling under biting cold at 3 degrees Celsius. In Haryana, Hisar's minimum settled six notches below normal while Karnal, too, experienced a cold night at 6 degrees Celsius, down two against normal. Narnaul also braved a cold night at 5.4 degrees Celsius, down one notch, while severe cold gripped the town during the day with the maximum temperature settling at 13.2 degrees Celsius, down 10 notches against normal.
Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, however, recorded a low of 9.6 degrees Celsius, up three notches against normal limits while the day temperature in the city settled at 17.2 degrees Celsius. Cold day conditions occurred at isolated places over eastern Uttar Pradesh and a few places over western parts of the state. Very dense fog occurred at isolated places over western Uttar Pradesh and dense fog occurred at isolated places over east UP.
State capital Lucknow recorded a minimum temperature of 10.9 degrees Celsius, while Allahabad recorded a low of 15.2 degrees Celsius. The lowest minimum temperature over the state was 5.8 degrees Celsius recorded at Fatehgarh observatory (in Farrukhabad district).
Cold wave and cold day conditions are very likely at isolated places over western UP on December 16. In Maharashtra, a drop in maximum temperature coupled with rise in humidity led to a foggy morning and chill in Mumbai and some other parts of the state. Because of the fog, there was slow traffic movement in the early morning hours between Mumbai and Nashik, which is one of the busiest routes for commercial vehicles.