The capital freezes at 2.4 degrees Celsius, evening rain adds to chill

Monday started out as one of the coldest mornings in a decade and ended with thunder, lightning and rain, with temperature dipping to a freezing 2.4 degrees Celsius, four degrees below normal.

Frost wave

“Only twice in the past 50 years has it been this cold in December. Once in 1996, when the minimum dropped to about 2.3 degrees Celsius and in 1973, when it fell to about 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said India Meteorological Director O.P. Yadav, adding that there was nothing to be really worried about.

“Temperature will go up with the rain and it will get cloudy. Clear skies and wind usually mean that the cold and dry wind can easily come from the Himalayas. Soon after the snowfall, if there is no cloud cover or fog, then the wind starts to descend to the plains and a region like Delhi naturally becomes colder. We call it frost wave conditions,” he added.

More rain expected

He also dismissed the notion that the Capital could experience an especially harsh winter in the coming days or that the winter had lately become harsher. “It was an equally harsh winter in 2011 where temperature also dipped to these levels,” he said, adding that more rain could be in the offing till noon on Tuesday.

Trains behind schedule

Meanwhile, citizens felt the palpable cold in the air. “I went to receive my relatives who were reaching Delhi around 3 a.m. The train was delayed and I ended up sitting on the platform for close to three hours. I had worn thermals, muffler, and a trench coat along with my warm cap, but I have never felt so cold in my life. I seriously thought I would die from it,” said Sanchita, a working woman in her late 20s. Many trains were running behind schedule

The maximum temperature was 19.7 degrees Celsius, one notch below normal. The IMD has said temperatures will vary from a maximum of 18 degrees Celsius to a minimum of 6 degrees Celsius in the coming week.

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