Delhi records 1.1°C, coldest New Year's Day in 15 years
On the first day of 2021, Delhi shivered with the mercury slipping to 1.1°C, as recorded by the Safdarjung observatory, for the first time in over a decade. Just like the temperature, the air quality also plummeted and remained in the "severe" category. Earlier, the India Meteorological Department had predicted the cold wave would persist in the National Capital for the next two days.
Dense fog affected visibility, condition improved after 7 am
Last year, the minimum recorded temperature in January was 2.4°C. About today's weather condition, Kuldeep Srivastava, Regional Head, IMD, said, "Latest minimum temperature of 1.1 degree Celsius recorded at Safdarjung observatory in Delhi. Very dense fog, zero visibility recorded at 6 am, visibility currently below 200 meters at Palam and Safdarjung." Reportedly, the visibility improved after 7 am.
Western disturbances sparked snowfall eventually dipping temperatures in Delhi/NCR
From December 12 onwards, western disturbances have started affecting the western Himalayas, triggering snowfall and rainfall over Jammu and Kashmir as well as Himachal Pradesh. Blaming this for the chilly weather in Delhi, Srivastava explained, "After the WD, cold northwesterly winds are blowing over Delhi/NCR from J&K and Himachal Pradesh. Uplifted fog cover over Punjab and Haryana is also making it colder."
Light to moderate snowfall expected in western Himalayan region
As per the Thursday bulletin of the IMD, the western Himalayan region and adjoining plains will be affected by a fresh western disturbance from January 3. The region could receive light to moderate snowfall from January 3 to January 6. Further, the interaction between western disturbance and lower level easterlies from the Bay of Bengal can spark rainfall in some places.
Scattered to widespread rainfall expected
Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, north Rajasthan, west Uttar Pradesh, and northwest Madhya Pradesh are likely to be drenched by rainfall between January 2 and January 5. Thunderstorms are also expected. The intensity of the rainfall would be maximum on January 4 and 5.
Chilly conditions will prevail for next few days
Residents of North India are unlikely to get respite from the biting cold anytime soon. The minimum temperature could rise to 3-5°C during the next four to five days. In the next 24 hours, cold to severe cold wave conditions would prevail over Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and west Madhya Pradesh. Dense to very dense fog is also imminent.
Expert said the peak of winter is underway
Mahesh Palawat from the Skymet Weather said that zero degrees in areas like Churu, Ganganagar, Bikaner, Hanumangarh, and Hisar are not entirely surprising. "These places are in desert regions where nights can be extremely cold but day temperatures are relatively higher so people don't feel the bitter cold here," Palawat told HT. He added that winds from snow-clad mountains were even affecting the plains.