Cold wave: Dense fog engulfs North India, rail movement disrupted
There seems to be no respite from the biting cold for North Indian plains as "very dense fog" covered the region, while the air quality in Delhi worsened on Monday. Owing to the severe weather conditions, the Delhi government extended the school winter break till January 15. Meanwhile, visibility fell to zero in Punjab's Bathinda and Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow and Agra on Monday morning.
Why does this story matter?
- The Indo-Gangetic plains reported an intense cold wave in the first week of January, with Delhi reporting a minimum temperature of 1.9 degrees Celsius on Sunday, five degrees below normal.
- According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), this was the second-lowest temperature recorded in January since 2008.
- The thick fog also blocked the sun, resulting in lower daytime temperatures in Delhi-NCR.
IMD issued 'orange' alert for Monday
Monday is reportedly the fifth consecutive cold weather day for the national capital, even as visibility was 25m in Delhi's Safdarjung, Punjab's Amritsar, and Haryana's Ambala. Due to poor visibility, the movement of 480 trains and over 100 flights in northern and eastern India was affected on Sunday. IMD issued an "orange" alert for Monday and forecasted the cold wave could subside on Tuesday.
Delhi's AQI drops to 'severe' category
The IMD predicted the maximum temperature in Delhi could go up to 18 degrees Celsius on Monday. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said Delhi's hourly air quality index (AQI) was in the "severe" category at 402 at 8 am on Monday. On Sunday, it was recorded at 371 in the "very poor" category. However, short-term relief is likely after a couple of days.
Repeated western disturbances triggering dense fog
The northern region is reeling under a cold wave triggered by back-to-back western disturbances, which raised humidity levels, resulting in dense to very dense fog, reducing sunshine and bringing down the day temperatures. A weather system bringing warm moist winds from the Middle East is characterized as a "western disturbance," and it changes the direction of the wind in the region that it approaches.