Today's minimum temperature was three notches below normal at 5 degrees Celsius. A thick blanket of fog in the morning threw flight and train schedules out of gear. Traffic slowed to a crawl in most parts of the city, with visibility ranging from under 50 metres at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to about 200 metres at the Safdarjung Airport.
"The thick fog is likely to clear up as the day progresses. But the cold conditions will continue in the coming days," said an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The maximum temperature is expected to hover around 18 degrees. On Sunday, the minimum and maximum temperatures were recorded at five and 23 degrees.
The mercury has shown a downward trend in the past couple of days, with both the maximum and minimum temperatures dropping. The coldest day of the season so far was December 16, when the minimum dropped to 4.7 degrees Celsius.
At least 26 people have died across north India due to the cold wave. Most of these deaths have been reported from Uttar Pradesh, where six people lost their lives last night. Meerut was the coldest place, recording a low of 2.2 degrees Celsius.
In Delhi, at least 14 flights were reported to have been delayed as visibility fell sharply between 6.30 am and 9.30 am. Operations showed an improvement only after the fog began lifting at about 10 am. Flight delays due to fog were reported from Kolkata as well.
Northern Railway had to cancel 30 trains and reschedule six others since last night.
A Railway spokesperson said that more than 40 trains were running behind schedule by several hours. Over 30 trains had been cancelled for a month on December 1, anticipating dense fog conditions in the region.
The conditions are equally bad in Punjab and Haryana with the minimum temperature dipping to 5 degrees Celsius at several places.
The Kashmir Valley has also witnessed a severe chill and water supply lines in the capital Srinagar have frozen with the mercury plunging to minus 4.6 degrees Celsius. Leh district in Ladakh recorded a low of minus 9 degrees Celsius yesterday.
The past few days have seen cold wave conditions in Bihar as well and the authorities have ordered all government schools to close till December 25.
(With agency inputs)