No significant relief expected as Delhi suffers worst smog event in nearly 2 decades

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New Delhi's skies have been filled with a thick haze (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

It will likely take months for significant relief from the dangerous smog to unfold in northern India and Pakistan.

New Delhi is among the communities throughout northern India and into Pakistan being shrouded by smog, resulting in extremely hazardous air quality and poor visibility for travelers.

According to the Centre for Science and Environment and the India Meteorological Department, smog hit the worst level in 17 years on Nov. 2.

Officials were forced close more than 5,000 schools across the city early this week, and construction and demolition work was banned for the week.

Vehicle usage restrictions may be imposed if conditions do not improve. Residents are also facing shortages on face masks.

The air quality index soared to 999 earlier this week near downtown New Delhi. That is nearly twice the top threshold for air quality levels deemed hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Unfortunately, no weather systems to help improve the air quality and visibility are on the horizon.

A strong dome of high pressure will continue to cause northern India and Pakistan to be engulfed by the dangerous smog through at least the remainder of this week. High pressure puts a lid on the atmosphere, keeping pollutants and stagnant air trapped at the surface.

A weak storm system will drop into northwestern India this weekend. However, it will likely only clip northwestern India and will not be followed by a push of fresh air behind it.

The system could bring some improvement, but nothing of significance, and air conditions will likely remain unhealthy.

These unhealthy air quality conditions could persist through the upcoming Winter and even into early Spring.

Related Topics:
weatheru.s. & worldair quality
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