New Delhi: The uninterrupted spell of intensely cold weather is all set to make this December the second-coldest December since 1901. The mean maximum temperature for December was less than 20 degrees Celsius only in 1919, 1929, 1961 and 1997, the IMD said. On Friday, Delhi recorded a minimum temperature of 4.2 degrees Celsius.

The mean maximum temperature (MMT) this December till Thursday was 19.85 degrees Celsius. It is expected to dip to 19.15 degrees Celsius by December 31. If that happens, it will be the second-coldest December since 1901. December 1997 recorded the lowest MMT of 17.3 degrees Celcius.

The cold spell started on December 14 and is expected to go on till December 29.

All government and private schools in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, Kanpur and Hapur are closed for the next two days, in view of the cold weather.

The weather department had predicted that a cold wave is likely to hit Delhi as the mercury is expected to drop to 4 degrees Celsius on the weekend. The city recorded a maximum of 17 cold days in December 1997. Before this, in December 2014, Delhi saw severe cold continuing for eight consecutive days. Explaining the sudden dip in the temperature, the experts said that there has been a gap of 10 days between two western disturbances. The second western disturbance is likely to hit by December 31. A “cold day” is when the maximum temperature is at least 4.5 degrees below the normal. A severe cold day is when the maximum temperature is at least 6.5 degrees Celsius below the normal.