Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Delhi Weather in January

Delhi is the only place I have ever lived where the weather forecast is simply listed as, "Dreary." It's the fog. The locals are dressed for "winter." Scarves, winter coats, gloves, stocking caps. From our point of view, the temperatures really aren't that bad. They range from the upper 40s F at night to as high as 70 F during the day... if the fog thins out. If not, the day time temps probably hang in the low 60s F. We usually wear a scarf, a hat and a warm sweater.
At night I feel like I'm camping - minus the sleeping bag. If you've been camping, you know what I mean. The sheets are cold and clammy. The pillow is damp. The air often smells smokey and musty. You need a friend to get warm.
When we get up in the morning we often cannot see 15 feet beyond the railing of our balcony. The buildings across the courtyard are simply not there. "Morning" fog often winds up being just all-day fog.
To be accurate, the fog is really about two-thirds moisture and one third pollution. It seems to be caused by air inversions. A layer of cold air trapping a layer of warm air and moisture. These routine inversions are sometimes experienced in places like Denver, Colorado. The fog just makes the weather seem colder, darker and very, very damp.
Driving is challenging to say the least. Drivers aren't compelled to use headlights in the fog, so cars, bicycles and pedestrians emerge out of the mist like ghosts without warning. The kids' school start-time is delayed in January by at least a 1/2 hour because of the weather. And the malls are really crowded - although this is probably more due to big store sales than the foggy, damp weather.
To me, the swing in Delhi temperatures shows up best in the act of doing laundry. In the summer we hang our wet clothes out on the balcony. The intense, dry heat from the sun gets them dry in literally 20 minutes. This time of year we hang our laundry inside to dry - usually at night. This is when the space-heaters are on. Clothing won't ever dry outside in this "dreary" Delhi weather.

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