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NEW DELHI : The national capital broke the record of the longest cold spell on Tuesday, a day after recording the coldest December day in more than a century on Monday.

Delhi recorded 18 consecutive cold days since 14 December, the longest such stretch so far. The mean maximum temperature for the month was 18.76°C.

The last time Delhi faced such low temperatures in December was more than two decades ago in 1997, which had a mean maximum temperature of 17.3°C and a total number of 17 such days in the month.

“In terms of number of cold days, this December is the coldest so far since 1992," said Kuldeep Shrivastava, head of Regional Weather Forecasting Centre, New Delhi.

North India and parts of central India are reeling under an intense cold spell with consecutive severe cold days and intense cold waves in certain pockets.

The situation however, improved slightly on Tuesday, as the cold wave abated across various parts of India, including Delhi. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the minimum temperature on Tuesday rose by 2°C and was recorded at 4.8°C at the Safdarjung meteorological station, while the maximum was recorded at 14.6°C.

“No more cold wave is expected till 4 January," said the weather department. However, cold days are likely to persist for longer.

A cold day is declared when the maximum temperature is less than or equal to 16°C and foggy conditions prevail. A cold wave forms when the wind chill brings down the actual minimum temperature, depending on the wind speed.

The minimum temperatures have shown a positive trend across various parts of north India, according to an IMD forecast. It has also predicted very light rain over Delhi and its suburbs during 2-3 January.

The strong easterly winds have gained speed and have prevented the formation of dense fog.

According to IMD scientists, the dense fog was the main reason for the record cold on Monday. “There was mixing of lower level warm and moist light south-easterly winds with dry and cold northwesterly winds over Delhi which led to foggy conditions. But, the strong easterly winds have now helped in reducing the thick cover of clouds and fog," said Shrivastava.

On Monday, Delhi witnessed the coldest December day in 119 years. The maximum temperature stood at the lowest ever of 9.4°C, which was 11.4°C below the normal temperature of 20.8°C. It surpassed the record of 11.3°C on 28 December 1997.

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