The weatherman predicted a pleasant Friday in the national capital after dense fog blanketed the city for two days in a row. Visibility remained low in many parts of the city in the morning, severely affecting air and rail traffic in the form of several diversions and cancellations.
According to the Safdarjung Observatory, the visibility was recorded at 50 metres at 5:30 am which increased to mere 150 metres at 8:30 am.
The MeT Department has predicted mainly clear skies for Saturday along with the possibility of shallow to moderate fog at some places and dense to very dense fog at isolated places.
Eighteen flights and 50 north-bound trains were delayed due to low visibility, the first time this season.
The fog also caused road accidents on the Yamuna Expressway, killing at least three people and injuring over half a dozen injured in two separate incidents on Thursday night .
In the first incident that occurred under Surir police station area, six vehicles had collided with each other amid dense fog on the expressway.
In the second accident, a car proceeding to Noida rammed a goods truck going ahead of it under Baldeo police station area on Yamuna Expressway, killing two people, and injuring three others.
Airport operations stalled
Passengers at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) had a harrowing time for the second consecutive day on Thursday as visibility dipped to 50 metre at 7am.
Aircrafts equipped to take off in low visibility continued to operate, but 300 flights were impacted on Thursday. Six flights were diverted, 16 were cancelled and about 250 were delayed by 30 minutes to six hours.
Several airlines such as Vistara, IndiGo and Jet Airways warned of delays and diversions “due to the sudden drop in visibility”.
“The situation was particularly bad between 6:30am and 9am. CAT-III B operations, when equipped flights can operate even if the runway visibility is less than 150 metre, were on,” an airport official said.
Wind speeds have reduced drastically over the last few days, with the highest wind speed recorded at 6 kmph on Tuesday. The wind will also change direction and be more likely to blow from east and northeast directions till December 3.
The changed winds are expected to bring more moisture in, thereby reducing visibility, according to a scientist at the Regional Meteorological Centre.
Delhi airport officials claim that they are fully prepared and the airlines have to take responsibility of the chaos as they have not deputed trained pilots. To operate in low visibility, pilot needs to be trained to fly in low visibility.
(With agency inputs)