The National Capital is in the middle of its second coldest December in over 100 years due to the current intense cold spell for the last 11 days. The Indian Meteorological Department has issued an orange alert in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, and Western UP. By Ritika Dixit

In terms of day temperatures, December 2019 is set to make its mark for being the second coldest December faced by capital in over 100 years. The mean maximum temperature this month is 19.84°C. The lowest mean maximum temperature in the city was recorded in 1997 at 17.3°C. The second-lowest was in 1919 at 19.8°C and in 1929 at 19.8°C. In 1961 it was 20 degrees Celsius. Until December 26 this year, it is almost the same as recorded in 1919 and 1929.

Delhi and the entire North Western region have been covered in the dense night and morning fog during the 11 days of bone-chilling cold spell. The main difference between a cold spell and a cold wave is that the former involves lower-than-normal maximum or day temperatures for two to three days in a row while the latter involves lower-than-expected minimum or night temperatures for more than one day. Flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International airport were also partially affected due to the falling levels of visibility.

With the expected widespread rain and hailstorm over Delhi/NCR on December 31 and January 1 due to the approaching western disturbances and easterly winds, the chances of a respite from the biting cold weather seem very slim.

Air quality in the National Capital continues to remain in the ‘very poor’ zone due to the slow winds and a nearly constant layer of dense fog which did not let the pollutants disperse. The quality of air is likely to plunge to ‘severe’ on December 28 and 29.

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