Delhi witnessed a minimum temperature of 2.8 degree Celsius on Sunday morning, recording one of the coldest days of the season. The minimum temperature at the Lodi Road area was recorded at 2.8 degree Celsius. In Palam area, the minimum temperature was recorded at 3.2 degree Celsius while the Safdarjung area recorded the lowest temperature at 3.4 degree Celsius, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The temperature recorded at the Safdarjung Observatory is considered the official marking for the city.
On Saturday, the mercury had plunged to below 2 degrees Celsius in some areas, with the Lodhi Road Observatory recording a low of 1.7 degrees Celsius. Delhi and other states of northern India are experiencing an extreme cold wave as the minimum temperature dips to as low as -15 degree Celsius in some parts of Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Ladakh. In view of the severe cold wave, the IMD has issued a red-coded warning for several northern states, including Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. A red-coded warning is given for extreme weather events.
The Safdarjung Observatory on Saturday had recorded a minimum temperature of 2.4 degrees Celsius. The same temperature was recorded on December 30, 2013. Before that, the coldest day in December was December 11, 1996, when the minimum temperature recorded at the observatory was 2.3 degrees Celsius.
Due to heavy fog, many flights have also been diverted from Delhi airport, an airport official told PTI. The official said the flights were operating at the airport under CAT III B conditions, which means that the runway visual range (RVR) is between 50 metre and 175 metres.
Railway officials say as many as 24 trains were delayed due to poor visibility, ranging from 2-5 hours, on Saturday. Several trains are expected to be delayed today too.
With chilling cold continuing to sweep Delhi-NCR, the region is expected to record its second-coldest December since 1901, the weather department had said on Thursday. "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.
In December this year, the mean maximum temperature (MMT) till Thursday was 19.85 degrees Celsius. It is expected to dip to 19.15 degrees Celsius by December 31, he said. Since December 14, most parts of the city have witnessed 15 consecutive "cold days" or a 15-day "cold spell". The last time such a long cold spell was witnessed was in December 1997. After 1992, Delhi has had cold spells only in four years - 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2014.
Edited by Manoj Sharma with PTI inputs