Delhi'ites snuggled under quilts or gathered around bonfires as the city recorded the coldest day of this season with the mercury settling down at 2.4 degrees celsius Saturday morning.
Dense fog engulfed parts of the national capital leading to delays in air and rail services as the weather office said the city was set to experience the second coldest December in the past 100 years.
Maximum temperature in the capital settled at 12 degrees Celsius and the weatherman has forecast severe cold conditions to continue for the next couple of days with the possibility of rains on New Years' Eve on Tuesday.
The weather office has issued extreme weather warning across Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh
The weatherman attributed the cold wave conditions to persistent cold northwesterly winds and a fresh Western Disturbance is expected to bring rainfall to the western Himalayan region from Monday night onwards. The weather system would also bring rains to Northwest and Central India on Tuesday.
According to private weather forecaster Skymet, the mean maximum temperature recorded for the month of December from 1901 to 2018 showed that there have only been four years – 1919, 1929, 1961 and 1997 when the mean maximum temperature (MMT) was less than 20 degrees Celsius.
It said that this December, the MMT has been 19.85 degrees Celsius as on Thursday and was expected to settle at 19.15 degrees Celsius for the month. If this happens, December 2019 will be the second coldest December of the century after the year 1997, when the MMT was 17.3 degrees Celsius.
The lowest minimum temperature in the plains was recorded at Sikar in eastern Rajasthan at minus one degrees Celsius.
Severe cold day conditions have been prevailing in the national capital region since December 14, making it a 15-day spell, surpassing the cold wave spell of 1997.
In the hill-state of Himachal Pradesh, Kufri, Manali, Solan, Bhuntar, Sundernagar, Seobagh, and Kalpa shivered at below sub-zero temperatures.