Cold intensifies in Delhi after light rainfall, more showers predicted in February

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New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Light rainfall in parts of Delhi on Wednesday intensified winter chills as the maximum temperature in the city dropped to to 18.6 degrees Celsius, four notches below the season's normal, according to the IMD.

The city recorded a significant drop in maximum temperature after the drizzling, nearly three degrees less than Tuesday's 21.4 degrees Celsius. Delhi recorded a low 7.3 degrees Celsius, a notch below the season's average.

The weather office predicted that the city will see thunderstorm and gusty winds with a speed of up to 30-40 kmph towards night, according to the weather office.

The IMD added that it anticipated a rise in rainfall in February, "exceeding 122 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA)," the weather office said. LPA is the average rainfall recorded in a region over a specific time period.

Light rainfall is likely to continue in Delhi NCR on Thursday due to western disturbance, the IMD said.

"Another western disturbance is forecasted for February 2 which will bring potential changes in Delhi's weather," said Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist and the head of the weather department.

The density of fog will reduce and noticeable changes in weather will be seen after February 4 and 5, he added.

However, dense fog during the morning and evening will remain the same, Srivastava said.

Light to moderate intensity rain occurred in parts of Delhi, including Punjabi Bagh, Najafgarh, Dwarka, Delhi Cantt, Palam, Safdarjung, Lodi Road, and IGI Airport.

The drizzling improved the fog levels in the national capital. Earlier on Wednesday morning, a thick layer of fog had enveloped the city, hampering flight and train operations.

Zero visibility was reported at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 6.30 am as dense fog conditions engulfed the area. The visibility remained the same till 9 am, officials said.

The Delhi airport saw diversions of at least three flights on Wednesday morning due to bad weather, an official said.

Another official said that several trains were running late due to the "very dense" fog.

According to the MeT department, Delhi's main weather station Safdarjung observatory in January recorded its second lowest monthly average maximum temperature at 17.7 degrees Celsius in the last 74 years.

The lowest average monthly maximum temperature was recorded in January 2003 at 17.6 degrees Celsius.

The average minimum temperature in the national capital during the same period was pegged at 6.2 degrees Celsius, the second lowest in 13 years, the data showed.

A total of 128 hours of "dense to very dense fog hours" -- with visibility less than 200 metre -- were recorded at IGI airport Delhi in the December-January period this winter season over a period of 20 days, which is the third highest in the last 10 years.

For January, there were 88 hours of dense to very dense fog over a period of 14 days, which is the second highest in the last 10 years.

Weather fluctuations are expected to continue till February 3 because of western disturbance with further changes anticipated from thereon, a senior official said.

Meanwhile, the Air Quality Index (AQI) continued to remain in the 'very poor' category with a reading of 386 at 7 pm despite the rainfall in Delhi.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'. PTI SJJ SJJ SKY SKY

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