Strong dust storm hits Delhi, air quality dips

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) A strong dust storm barrelled through the national capital on Friday, affecting visibility and air quality, while cloudy weather and light rain brought the mercury down slightly in the evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The city recorded a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius.

'A dust storm hit Delhi around 4 pm under the influence of a Western Disturbance affecting the hills. The maximum wind speed was around 85 kilometres per hour,' an IMD official said.

The visibility at Palam dropped from 3,000 metres to 500 metres due to the dust storm. At Safdarjung, it was reduced from 2,200 metres to 1,500 metres.

Delhi's air quality index (AQI) also deteriorated to 263 at 9 pm from 238 at 4 pm.

An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe', while an AQI above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category.

The Palam weather station recorded 1.6 mm rainfall. Very light rain has been recorded in other areas, the official said.

The city recorded a minimum temperature of 20.2 degrees Celsius.

On Thursday, the capital had recorded a maximum temperature of 40.5 degrees Celsius, the highest so far this season.

The mercury is predicted to remain below 40 degrees Celsius for the next five to six days, the IMD said. PTI GVS DIV DIV