India’s Capital Delhi Suffers ‘Coldest December Since 1901’

Commuters wrapped in warm clothes wait at a bus stop on a cold foggy morning in New Delhi on December 26, 2019. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty

India’s capital city has recorded its coldest December in over a century, with its lowest average temperatures since 1901, Firstpost reported Saturday.

“The mean maximum temperature for December was less than 20 degrees Celsius only in 1919, 1929, 1961 and 1997,” stated an official from the India Meteorological Department. “In December this year, the mean maximum temperature (MMT) till Thursday was 19.85 degrees Celsius. It is expected to dip to 19.15 degrees Celsius by December 31.”

Delhi hit its coldest temperature of the season Saturday as the mercury plummeted to 2.4 degrees Celsius in the morning, officials said. The Safdarjung Observatory, whose reading is considered the official marking for the city, registered Saturday’s record low.

On Sunday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a “code red” warning because of cold wave conditions in Delhi, Haryana, and other neighboring states. Adding to the unusual cold temperatures, dense fog is likely to reduce visibility and disrupt air, rail and road traffic.

According to the IMD’s classification system, a code red warning is given for extreme weather events and constitutes a warning for the public to take precautionary action against the adverse weather.

The unseasonable cold, combined with near-zero visibility, caused a disruption in travel, with a number of flights being canceled or diverted. Rail traffic has also reportedly suffered due to the cold, with 24 trains delayed from 2-5 hours due to poor visibility.

Since 1992, the minimum temperature at Safdarjung Observatory was 2.4 degrees Celsius on December 30, 2013 and 2.3 degrees Celsius on December 11, 1996, said Kuldeep Srivastava, a senior meteorologist at IMD. The all-time record low is zero degrees on December 27, 1930, he said.

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