A hailstorm hit parts of Noida in the National Capital Region, which is already in the grip of a cold wave, on Thursday evening. Hailstorms were also reported in Faridabad and Gurugram, the Hindustan Times reported. With the region expected to receive heavy rainfall in the next two days, temperature in Delhi-NCR is likely to drop even more during the night.
Operations at the Delhi airport were disrupted as 38 flights were diverted to nearby cities between 6 pm and 8.45 pm because of the weather conditions, PTI reported. These included 23 domestic flights, nine international flights and six flights that were either private jets or belonged to the Indian Air Force. Many other flights were facing delays of more than two hours, officials said.
Earlier this week, the weather department had forecast heavy rain and hailstorms in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Uttarakhand.
The department attributed the weather condition to the convergence of a cyclonic circulation caused by a western disturbance over Afghanistan and its neighbourhood, and an “anti-cyclonic circulation” over Central India. The weather conditions were expected to peak in North West India on Wednesday and Thursday.
The air quality in the city improved to ‘moderate’ on Thursday due to the rain and winds, the Central Pollution Control Board said.
Authorities said the city’s air quality index was at 171 on Thursday compared to Wednesday’s ranking of 349. The index considers a ranking between 0 and 50 as ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and between 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
The Central government-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting said the air quality will remain moderate until Friday. “The wind speed is expected to slow down which will deteriorate the air quality to poor after two days,” the statement said.