Strong winds, light rain likely to improve Delhi's air quality
Delhi's air quality was recorded in the poor category on Friday and is likely to improve significantly over the next two days due to a predicted increase in the wind speed and light rain.
The city's air quality index (AQI) was 271 at 9 am. The 24-hour average AQI was 284 on Thursday.
The neighbouring cities of Ghaziabad (AQI 330), Greater Noida (322) and Noida (310) recorded air quality in the very poor category.
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".
The central government's Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi said the air quality is likely to improve significantly on Saturday and Sunday owning to better ventilation conditions and rainfall.
The India Meteorological Department said the national capital and its neighbouring cities are likely to receive light rainfall on Friday and Saturday under the influence a fresh Western Disturbance passing over the Himalayas.
The maximum wind speed is predicted to be 15 kmph, favourable for dispersion of pollutants, it said.
After the Western Disturbance withdraws, icy cold northwesterly winds blowing from the snow-laden Himalayas will bring temperatures down in the plains, the IMD said.
The minimum temperature is expected to drop to 8 degrees Celsius by Monday, according to an IMD forecast.
The city recorded a minimum of 10.9 degrees Celsius on Friday. The maximum temperature is likely to settle around 29 degrees Celsius.
Calm winds and low temperatures trap pollutants close to the ground, while favourable wind speed helps in their dispersion.