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Delhiites to continue breathing 'very poor' air; IMD issues alert for extreme cold and foul air

New Delhi: Foul air has returned to haunt residents in the national capital, amid the ongoing severe cold wave conditions, which prompted the Met department to issue a red alert for biting cold on Saturday.
The Met office said the double whammy of a declining air quality and the ongoing severe cold wave will only add to the woes of residents, adding that Delhi's air quality will hover in the 'very poor' category over the next three to four days. "The AQI (Air Quality Index) of Delhi-NCR, which saw some good air days in recent weeks, will slip back to the 'very poor' category in the next three to four days," VK Soni, a scientist at the IMD said.
Delhi's air was in the 'very poor' category on Saturday, with the AQI reaching 359, as per System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
Further, according to SAFAR , the AQI in the National Capital Region of Gurugram stood at 371, with the Delhi University area recording 351.
The AQI near Lodhi Road also breached alarming levels, at 347.
The area nearby IIT Delhi recorded an AQI of 345 while it stood at 356 at Terminal 3 of IGI airport.
At 433, the AQI in Noida was especially alarming on Saturday.
Apart sounding a warning bell for bad air days in the national capital, the IMD on Saturday also issued a red alert for the next 24 to 48 hours, warning of severe cold in parts of North India, including Delhi.
Delhi recorded a minimum temperature of 2 degrees Celsius on Saturday.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, RK Jenanmani, a weather scientist at IMD said, "The Delhi University's Ridge area recorded a minimum of 1.5 degrees Celsius today, which is the lowest recorded this season."
The official weather station for the Capital, at Safdarjung, recorded a minimum temperature of 2.2 degrees Celcius, while Lodhi road logged 2 degrees Celcius.
At Aaya Nagar, the mercury dropped to 1.5 degrees Celcius from 1.8 degrees Celcius on Friday.
Jenanmani said severe cold conditions are prevailing in Delhi-NCR and parts of the national capital are, in fact, colder than some popular tourist destinations in the sub-Himalayan region.
"The western disturbance, which was expected to break this cold spell, hasn't been too effective. A vast swathe of the North Indian belt, including Delhi, North Madhya Pradesh, North Rajasthan, Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh, are colder than Shimla, Manali and the western Himalayan region where the minimum temperature has increased," he said.
He added that dense fog prevails in a vast area of North Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
"Churu in Rajasthan reached freezing point while the temperature of Nowgong in Madhya Pradesh's Chhattarpur district reached sub zero, at 0.5 degrees Celcius. Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh recorded 2.2 degrees Celcius and Hisar in Haryana recorded the lowest in the state, at 2 degrees Celsius," he said.
He added, "The Indian Meteorological Department has issued red alerts for the next 24 to 48 hours, warning of severe cold in North India and dense fog for North Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana Chandigarh, Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh. An 'orange alert. will also be in place for January 8 to 9 night. Thereafter, the severe cold is likely to abate. We expect the Western Disturbance to take effect from January 10 and there will, hence, be some respite from the cold from January 9."
"For the next 48 hours, people are advised take all the safety measures and avoid stepping out, unless it is very urgent," Janemani said. (ANI)

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