Delhi recorded its highest rainfall in a day for January in 22 years on Saturday, yielding the city’s best air quality in over two months even as the minimum temperature settled at 15 degrees Celsius, eight notches above normal. The record rainfall led to waterlogging at several low-lying areas, including New Friends Colony, Pul Prahladpur, Ring Road and Mandawali among others.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Safdarjung Observatory, considered the official marker for the city, recorded 41 mm rainfall in a 24-hour period ending at 8.30 am on Saturday, the highest for the month of January in 22 years. The highest single-day rainfall for January recorded in the city was 46 mm in 1999.
Delhi’s Palam observatory received a record 47.6 mm rainfall in the span of 24 hours ending at 8.30 am on Saturday, its highest in a day for the month of January after 1995, when it had recorded 52.2 mm downpour, IMD data showed. The weather station in Ayanagar recorded 49 mm rainfall from 8.30 am on Friday to 8.30 am on Saturday, Ridge 48 mm, Lodhi Road 42.2 mm and Najafgarh 42.5 mm.
From 8.30 am on Saturday till 5.30 pm, the Safdarjung observatory recorded 6.2 mm rainfall, Palam 14 mm, Ayanagar 6.9 mm, the Ridge 7.2 mm, Lodhi Road 6.7 and Najafgarh 16 mm, the IMD data showed. The weather office predicted cloudy skies with the possibility of light rain or drizzle on Sunday.
“There will be partly cloudy sky with possibility of drizzle and moderate fog in the morning,” it predicted. According to Central Pollution Control Board’s 24-hour AQI bulletin at 4 pm on Saturday, Delhi’s AQI was 91, in the ‘satisfactory’ category. The last time Delhi’s air was in this category was on October 25 last year.
Weather officials said the drastic improvement in the city’s air quality was due to rains because of back-to-back western disturbances and high-speed winds of up to 15-20 kmph sweeping through the region. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said the AQI may further improve to the good category due prevailing rains and high-speed winds.
“Today’s (Saturday) rain spells with relatively high winds are likely to continue causing further improvement of air quality to ‘good’ or ‘lower end of satisfactory’ due to wet deposition and strong dispersion,” the SAFAR said. It added that from January 9 onwards, the air quality is likely to degrade due to gradual decrease in maximum and minimum temperatures as well as wind speed, all contributing to low dispersion of pollutants.
The air quality index in nearby Noida was recorded at 84, Greater Noida 72, Ghaziabad 108, Faridabad 103 and Gurugram 106. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
December 2021 had recorded the longest streak of six “severe” air quality days in Delhi since 2015. The city’s maximum temperature settled at 16.4 degrees Celsius, three notches below the season’s average, on Saturday.
The humidity level at 5.30 pm was 100 percent, the weather office said. The record rain led to inundation in several low-lying areas of the city in the morning. The areas which witnessed waterlogging include the Pul Prahladpur underpass, New Friends Colony, IP Marg Ring Road, Mandawli, New Ashok Nagar, Dabri, Mahavir Nagar, Bindapur, Yamuna Vihar, Wazirabad, Pushta Road, Kirari, and Nangloi among others.
The officials of the Public Works Department (PWD) said that they received 15-20 complaints regarding waterlogging. All were resolved by the staff present on the ground, they said. The Delhi Police also received four calls regarding waterlogging in the national capital.
“Waterlogging was reported at IP Marg near WHO building, near Jahangirpuri metro station, NSG signal towards Dwarka link road etc. Three calls regarding tree falling, including near .
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