‘Very poor’ tag for Delhi’s air as IMD predicts foggy Diwali

Delhi’s air remained in the ‘very poor’ category on Saturday morning despite an increase in pollution levels. According to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Air Quality Index (AQI) at 6.00 am on Saturday was 364. On Friday, the average 24-hour AQI stood at 339.

Pollution levels are expected to rise over the weekend and may improve after the passage of a western disturbance, causing rain over parts of north India after November 15, according to an official forecast.

The AQI was in the ‘severe’ zone for six days, starting November 5. Delhi got minor relief on Wednesday and Thursday, when the AQI improved to the ‘very poor’ category after winds shifted direction, blowing in from the east.

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Kuldeep Srivastava, head of IMD’s regional weather forecasting centre, said the average wind speed on Friday was around 8kmph, which led to an increase in the pollution levels. He said from Diwali afternoon, the wind speed will dip to nearly 6 kmph.

“From Diwali evening (Saturday), the air quality is likely to start deteriorating. However, from Sunday night, the wind direction is expected to change again to easterly and there is a possibility of light rain. The pollution particles stick to the moisture in the air and settle closer to the ground, making the air quality worse,” Srivastava said.

The IMD forecast said from Monday, the wind speed is likely to improve, which again could improve the air quality.

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Meanwhile, IMD has predicted a foggy Diwali morning and a cloudy day on Saturday. The minimum temperature is likely to be at around 12 degree Celsius while the maximum temperature is predicted to be around 30 degree Celsius.

On Friday, Delhi’s minimum temperature, recorded at the Safdarjung observatory, which is considered the official reading for the city, was 12.3 degree Celsius – one degree below normal. The maximum temperature was 29.7 degree Celsius – one degree above normal.

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