It’s still more than a month away from winter. But, the city has been experiencing nippy nights for the past few days.

Chennai and its neighbourhood experienced a temperature of 19.4 degree Celsius on Friday as the minimum temperature plunged nearly four degree Celsius below average. This was the lowest temperature recorded so far this month. The gradual dip in the temperature began last Saturday after cloud cover lifted from over the city.

In only a few days, the minimum temperature in the city plunged from a pleasant 22-23 degrees to the much cooler temperatures being recorded now. The temperature fell sharply in many other weather stations across the State, including Thirupathur and Dharmapuri.

Winter clothes are already being much sought after to escape from the biting cold. Though Friday was not as windy as its preceding days, nippy weather prevailed during the day. Travelling after 7 p.m., particularly in areas where buildings were scarce was difficult, said residents.

Officials of the meteorological department said such weather normally prevails between December end and mid-February. However, the dominating northerly component in the wind and weak northeast monsoon activity had caused cold weather ahead of winter.

Y.E.A. Raj, deputy director general of meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai, said that, usually the city experiences north-easterly winds during this time of the year.

Weak monsoon had brought cold and dry air from the north to the city. The minimum temperature had dipped in interior parts of Tamil Nadu, which are away from the sea, as there might not be much moisture in the air over the region. Last year, the minimum temperature had dipped to 18.7 degree Celsius on November 9.

This kind of prolonged dry spell occurs during northeast monsoon. “We expect the monsoon to revive in three or four days. Until then, the minimum temperature in the city will be below normal for two or three days,” he said.

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