North India in frigid grip of cold; schools closed, rail, air traffic hit

New Delhi: North India continued to reel under intense cold on Sunday as the Haryana government decided to close schools for two days and reduced visibility due to dense fog affected the movement of flights and trains at several places.
Jaipur in Rajasthan registered the lowest minimum temperature in more than five decades.
Although Delhi, which is witnessing the longest spell of cold weather in the last 22 years, is likely to get some relief from the intense cold wave as the wind direction is expected to change, the Met office said.
“Change in wind direction from north-westerly to easterly has started and reduction in cold day and cold wave has begun from today (Sunday). This is reflected in the maximum and minimum temperatures,” the official said.
Since December 14, the national capital has been experiencing “severe cold days” with the average minimum temperature on Sunday morning being recorded at 3.4 degrees Celsius, four notches below what is considered normal for this time of the year.
The minimum temperature in various parts of Delhi varied with 2.5 degrees Celsius being recorded at Ayanagar, 2.8 degrees Celsius at Lodhi Road, 3.2 degrees Celsius at Palam and 3.6 degrees Celsius at Safdarjung.
The maximum temperature in various parts of Delhi varied with 14.8 degrees Celsius at Ayanagar, 15.6 degrees Celsius at Lodhi Road, 13.5 degrees Celsius at Palam and 15.8 degrees Celsius at Safdarjung.
Due to the cold wave, there was dense fog in the morning at Palam which reduced visibility to 150 meters. At Safdarjung, there was moderate fog with a visibility of 600 meters.
The mean temperature for December 2019 till Sunday was 19.07 degrees Celsius and it is “most likely to become second coldest December since 1901”, behind 17.3 degrees Celsius in December 1997, the Met department said.
A significant increase in wind speed is expected over Delhi-NCR from Tuesday evening under influence of approaching western disturbance and easterly winds in lower level.
Light rain is expected over Delhi-NCR during night from January 1 to January 3, 2020 and hailstorm is expected on January 2, 2020, it added.
Delhi had recorded the season’s coldest day on Saturday with the minimum temperature dropping to 2.4 degrees Celsius.
While 13 trains were delayed for up to six hours due to fog, the operations were normal at Delhi airport and there were no diversion or cancellations.
In Haryana, where the minimum temperatures have been hovering close to the freezing point at some places, the state government has decided to close schools on December 30 and 31, an official statement said.
“Thereafter, between January 1 to January 15, 2020, all schools in the state will remain closed on account of winter holidays,” it said.
The day temperatures in Haryana have been settling in the range of 10-13 degrees Celsius at most places.
The Met department said severe cold will continue unabated over the next couple of days in Haryana and Punjab.

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