Delhi's air quality approaches very poor levels as mercury falls to the lowest level of the season

NEW DELHI: Air quality in the national capital was near very poor levels on Wednesday and may even become severe in some parts of the city over the next two days due to falling temperatures and calm winds. The minimum temperature in the national capital dropped to 7.9 degrees Celsius, the lowest of the season, on Wednesday and is likely to fall further due to the cold winds that blow from the highest hills, authorities said.

The city recorded a maximum of 24 degrees Celsius, which was a notch below normal.

Weather experts said the minimum temperature is likely to drop to seven degrees Celsius on Friday. It is likely that the fall in temperatures and an expected drop in wind speed will raise pollution levels.

On Wednesday, the city's air quality index read 296 at 4 pm, compared to 282 at 4 pm on Tuesday.

Pollution levels may increase due to light and calm winds, low temperatures and high humidity. Light rains are possible around December 12. Then Delhi can get some relief, said Mahesh Palawat of Skymet Weather, a private forecaster.

The government's air quality monitor, SAFAR, said the AQI is likely to deteriorate to the upper end of the very poor category on Thursday and is expected to reach severe levels in some regions of Delhi on Friday.

The agricultural fire count was 250 on Tuesday. The transport-level winds are from the northwest and favorable for the intrusion of stubble feathers.

Smoke smoke is likely to represent nine percent of Delhi's pollution on Thursday.