Rains lashed parts of Delhi on Thursday due to another western disturbance, whose number and intensity scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) say are unusual this year.
The met department had predicted thunderstorms accompanied by hailstorms and gusty winds over Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, north Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha on February 14.
At least ten trains towards Delhi were delayed on Thursday due to low visibility conditions, according to news agency ANI. Budget carrier IndiGo cancelled scores of flights earlier in the week and said cancellations will continue for some more days, affecting around 30 flights every day.
“IndiGo is slightly adjusting its flight schedule in the coming days by around 30 flights per day to stabilise the network and operations impacted due to various ongoing Notams and likely bad weather in the coming days,” the airline said in a statement.
Shortage of pilots also continued to hamper operations of IndiGo, according to news agency Press Trust of India.
IMD has issued a red category warning for Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh on February 14, to direct various civic agencies to take action and ask people to be cautious.
The western disturbance, which began on February 13, will bring “scattered to fairly widespread rain and thundershowers and isolated hailstorms” over plains of northwest India and central India between February 13 and 15 with heavy rainfall likely over some places in Punjab and northern parts of Haryana and Chandigarh on February 14.
The rainfall is likely to shift towards eastern India from February 15 onwards. The disturbance will also bring widespread snowfall with heavy falls in some parts of western Himalayas.
The western disturbance (WD) that has hit India this week is this season’s 10th, and the one that the country will experience the week after is the 11th. On average, India sees five, maybe six, western disturbances every winter. This year, there have already been nine and some have been very intense.
Delhi’s overall air quality remained “very poor” on Wednesday and is likely to remain so till Thursday morning, authorities said.
According to data by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall air quality index (AQI) of the city was at 365. An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and between 401 and 500 “severe”.
The level of PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) was recorded at 184 and the PM10 level was at 310, it said.
In the National Capital Region (NCR), Ghaziabad, Greater Noida and Gurgaon also recorded ‘very poor’ air quality but Noida has ‘severe’ air quality, the CPCB data showed.
Authorities say the air quality will remain the same till Thursday morning.
“Thunderstorm and high winds associated with western disturbances will improve the air quality substantially to ‘moderate’ by late Thursday. The air quality will further improve and will be in the low end of moderate category thereafter at least for the next two days,” according to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR).
(With agency inputs)
First Published: Feb 14, 2019 08:11 IST