A massive dust storm accompanied by gusty winds hit parts of the national capital region on Monday evening and is expected to bring the much-needed relief to Delhiites from the scorching heat. In its latest bulletin the Met department had forecast partly cloudy skies with the possibility of a dust storm and thunderstorm along with very light rain this evening. On Sunday too, the weather was a little comfortable and people in large number stepped out to cast their votes in the national capital.
However, the weather continued to remain hot in the capital, with the maximum temperature settling at 38.5 degrees Celsius, one notch below the season's average. The minimum temperature settled at 25.2 degrees Celsius, according to the Safdarjung observatory, the reading of which is considered to be official.
The relative humidity was between 39% and 63% while the maximum and minimum temperatures was hovering around 38 and 25 degrees Celsius, respectively.
Delhi's air quality has been deteriorating for the last few days due to a dust storm in North West India, which led to a sudden spike in the pollution level in the region. The dust storm comes followed by a Western Disturbance as an upper air system over North Pakistan and adjoining Jammu and Kashmir.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) recorded the air quality index at 408 which falls in severe category, while the Central Pollution Control Board showed the AQI in very poor category at 347. The level of PM 2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) was recorded at 125 and the PM10 level 439. An AQI between 0 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 SAFAR also gives a list of precautions that people should take under the severe air quality condition, adding that whole of North West Indian region is under the grip of blowing dust and the AQI is predicted to remain in severe to upper side of very poor range in the coming days.
The precautionary measures include avoiding all kind of outdoor activities and avoiding burning things such as wood, candles or even incense. People have also been advised to keep the room clean by frequent wet mopping. Masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators are recommended for people who need to go out during the period.