The severe cold spell persisted in the northern parts of India on Friday morning. Visibility was low in most places as fog continued to envelope cities.
Punjab and Haryana
Hisar in Haryana faced the coldest night this season, with a minimum temperature of 0.3 degrees Celsius, PTI reported.
The minimum temperatures were below normal in other places in the state also, such as Sirsa (2 degrees Celsius), Narnaul (3 degrees Celsius), Rohtak (3.2 degrees Celsius), Bhiwani (4 degrees Celsius), Ambala (5.5 degrees Celsius) and Karnal (7 degrees Celsius). Chandigarh recorded a minimum of 6.6 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 8.8 degrees Celsius.
Officials from the India Meteorological Department said the cold spell is expected to continue for a few more days.
In Punjab, Bathinda was the coldest with a minimum temperature of 2.8 degrees Celsius. Other places that were also shockingly cold included Amritsar (5 degrees Celsius), Ludhiana (5.6 degrees Celsius), Halwara (5.5 degrees Celsius), Gurdaspur (5.8 degrees Celsius) and Patiala (6.6 degrees Celsius).
Delhiites woke to the season’s coldest morning on Friday as the temperatures dipped to 4.2 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature is expected to go up to 14 degrees Celsius. At least 17 trains travelling towards Delhi were running late due to foggy conditions but there were no reports of flight delays, authorities said.
Delhi is expected to record its second-coldest December since 1901, according to IMD officials. This December, the mean maximum temperature till Thursday was 19.85 degrees Celsius. This is expected to go down to 19.15 degrees Celsius by the end of the month.
“The mean maximum temperature for December was less than 20 degrees Celsius only in 1919, 1929, 1961 and 1997,” an official of the India Meteorological Department said, according to PTI. “If it happens, it will be the second-coldest December since 1901. December 1997 recorded the lowest MMT of 17.3 degrees Celsius.”
Delhi is witnessing the longest cold spell in December in 22 years. Since 1993, Delhi has had a cold spell only in four years – 1997, 1998, 2003, and 2014. Most parts of Delhi have recorded a cold spell for 13 days in a row till Friday.
According to the weather department, a “severe cold day” is registered when the minimum temperature drops to less than 10 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature is at least 6.4 degrees Celsius below normal. On the other hand, a “cold day” is registered when the minimum temperature is less than 10 degrees Celsius and the maximum is 4.4 degrees Celsius below normal.
Meanwhile, air quality in Delhi plunged because of a decrease in wind speeds. The Air Quality Index at 7.30 am on Friday was 364 as against the overall air quality of 349 on Thursday, according to the Hindustan Times.
Other parts of North India
In Rajasthan, Fatehpur town in Sikar district recorded the season’s lowest temperature at -3 degrees Celsius, according to The Indian Express. Severe cold conditions were also prevalent in Churu (1.3 degrees Celsius), Mount Abu (1 degree Celsius), Vanasthali (3.2 degrees Celsius), Bikaner (3.7 degrees Celsius). Jaipur recorded 5.8 degrees Celsius.
Minimum temperatures in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh were way below the freezing point, the report said. The Drass belt of Kargil district recorded a minimum temperature of -30.2 degrees Celsius. Leh recorded a minimum of -18 degrees Celsius, while Srinagar recorded -5 degrees Celsius. The minimum in Jammu was 6.4 degrees Celsius.
In the Kashmir Valley, Pahalgam was the coldest place, with a minimum of -12.7 degrees Celsius. Gulmarg recorded -11.2 degrees Celsius and Kupwara -5.6 degrees Celsius.
In Himachal Pradesh, the lowest temperature was recorded at -14.7 degrees Celsius. Shimla recorded 1 degree Celsius, while Dalhousie 1.17 degrees Celsius.