Heavy rain and hailstorms lashed several parts of Delhi and NCR Thursday, covering roads and parks in a white shroud. According to officials from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), a western disturbance that brought snow to Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh is behind the sudden turn in weather in Delhi.
As per IMD's historical data, the months of January, February and March are the second likeliest to see hailstorms after May. The probability of rain is also high.
The evening rain also brought traffic to a standstill in south, west and central Delhi. Reports of waterlogging were received from Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, Mayapuri, Mukarba Chowk and Punjabi Bagh. Long traffic jams were reported from India Gate, Connaught Place and Gole Market.
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The adverse weather also forced the Air Traffic Control to pert 14 domestic and four international flights from IGI airport. Several other flights, which were heading to Delhi, were not allowed to take off from their points of origin.
The Safdarjung observatory recorded 4.8 mm rain till 8.30 pm, but the Palam observatory registered much heavier rainfall at 30.4 mm.
The maximum temperature on Thursday plummeted 6 degrees Celsius - from 25.1 degrees on Wednesday to 19.1 degrees Celsius on Thursday.
The minimum temperature, however, was recorded at 15 degrees Celsius, six degrees above normal. "A warm Wednesday and an overcast sky meant that heat was trapped and the morning temperature was unusually high," said an IMD official. While no rain is expected during the next six days, mornings and days are expected to be colder than usual, officials said.
On Friday, the city can expect moderate fog in the morning, followed by haze, even as officials expect a primarily clear sky. The temperature is expected to be between 10 and 19 degrees Celsius. Air quality, meanwhile, took a turn for the better and went from "very poor" on Wednesday to "moderate" on Thursday."The rains were preceded by strong winds which helped in dispersal of concentrated pollutants. Strong winds are expected for the next two days too," said a CPCB official.