Delhi has just recorded its coldest day for the month of December on Monday, December 30, 2019, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) confirmed. The station in Safdarjung reported 9.4 °C (48.9 °F), which is 11.4 °C (20.5 °F) below normal and the lowest day maximum temperature on record since 1901 for the month of December.
The previous lowest ever day maximum temperature for December is 11.3 °C (52.3 °F), recorded on December 28, 1997, at the same station.
The other stations at Delhi also reported very unusual day maximum temperature on Monday, with Palam at 10 °C (50 °F), Ridge at 9.2 °C (48.6 °F), and Lordi Road at 9.3 °C (48.7 °F). IMD added that the coldest spell in this season has been through December 26 to 30.
"This December is the second coldest December since 1901. Usually, January is the coldest winter month, but this time, mercury has broken decades’ record in December itself," aid Kuldeep Shrivastava, Head of the Regional Weather Forecasting Center in New Delhi.
Since December 26, temperatures have been significantly cold, leading to severe conditions over Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, west Uttar Pradesh, and North Madhya Pradesh.
IMD pointed out the dense fog as the main cause of the record-breaking temperature in Delhi. "This season's worst dense fog has also been observed all over Delhi today," with visibility to 200 m (656 feet) for a very prolonged period from 21:30 on December 29 to 07:00 UTC on December 30 (02:30 to 12:00 LT, December 30).
Record breaking cold day condition at Delhi pic.twitter.com/tRodORapsR— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) December 30, 2019
This is the Safdarjung observatory of Delhi where lowest record breaking coldest day maximum temperature has been recorded. pic.twitter.com/319xwJskTf— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) December 30, 2019
Subject: Record (1901) breaking cold day condition at Delhi pic.twitter.com/PUfmDjJ2mL— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) December 30, 2019
The dense fog has caused the delay of as much as 23 trains coming to Delhi on Monday. Furthermore, an official at the Indira Gandhi International Airport said there were also disruptions to flight services, with 21 incoming flights diverted to neighboring cities like Jaipur and Lucknow. Six other flights were canceled.
This very dense fog occurred due to lower-level warm and moist light southeasterly winds mixed with dry and cold northwesterly winds over the Delhi region accompanied with a lower-level inversion in the atmosphere.
Shrivastava noted that cold temperatures may slightly change over the next few days as "cold northwesterly winds are slowly getting replaced by easterlies due to a change in the wind direction." However, "the conditions would still remain very cold."
Unlike the chilly north-westerly winds coming from the upper Himalayan region, easterlies are known to be relatively warmer and humid. However this time, even the easterlies are also cooler, since Uttar Pradesh and Central India are reeling under cold conditions for the past few weeks.
#Delhi #India: Blanket of fog impacts hundreds of #flights— tiniskwerl (@tiniskwerl) December 30, 2019
+500 Flts Delay/21 Divert/5 Cancel
Poor visibility N India
Cold wave expected to stay until at least January
Capital could witness 2nd-coldest December since 1901
Average max temp 19.15° C/66.5° Fhttps://t.co/IL73DhoUSL
According to IMD's forecast as of 14:30 UTC (19:30 LT), the continuance of easterly winds over Delhi is likely, similar cold day and dense fog conditions with reduced intensity will probably prevail over the state on Tuesday, December 31.
"In view of the approaching western disturbance, one or two spells of light rain or drizzle accompanied by thunderstorm [are] likely during [the] night of 1st to 3rd January 2020. Thus, cold wave and dense fog conditions would be abated from January 1, 2020."
Featured image credit: @suraj_yadav2005/Twitter