Winter chill is here: Delhi records 10.8 degrees Celsius

The mercury fell to 10.8 degrees Celsius on Monday morning, over four degrees below normal, as the Capital continued to stay sharp and chilly before the onset of winter, leaving weather scientists intrigued by how early the minimum temperature has started dropping this year.

The temperatures are unusually low for this time of the year, according to data from the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) Regional Meteorological Centre. At least in the past 10 years, the temperature in the first two days of November ranged between 15 and 17 degrees Celsius, and the “normal” minimum temperature from November 2 to 6 is 14.9 degrees Celsius.

Normal temperatures are assessed based on average maximum and minimum temperature for 30 years.

“We usually start recording 10 to 11 degrees Celsius in the last week of November, or at least after November 20. This year it’s a fortnight early. It’s very unusual. This is possibly both because of early onset of cold and snowfall in higher reaches of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh for the last two days. There was also snowfall in Lahaul and Spiti today,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the regional weather forecasting centre.

The minimum temperature is likely to range between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius for the next three to four days, the RMC scientists said.

The minimum temperature in Gurugram on Monday fell to 10.2°C, while it dropped to 10.8°C in Faridabad. Data for Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad was not updated on the day.

This October was the coldest Delhi has experienced in 58 years, IMD had said on Saturday. “Climatologically we are moving towards winter, so temperature will gradually fall but there is also subsidence of air over the Delhi-NCR region which is bringing down minimum temperatures. There are cold northerly winds also but they are not as strong,” explained M Mohapatra, director general, IMD. Subsidence, Mohapatra said, is the downward movement of cold and dry air closer to the surface. IMD considers December, January and February to be winter months.

Delhi’s air quality improved marginally on Monday from “very poor” category to “poor” with the air quality index (AQI) at 293.

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