After a short-lived respite from hazy days, residents of Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) woke up to a dense fog on Wednesday morning that reduced visibility on the streets.
“I am not able to see the cars right ahead of me. India Gate is still far off,” said Uber driver Anil, while trying to navigate through the traffic in the fog-covered city.
Domestic flights from Delhi airport are being delayed because of the dense fog. Air India officials, however, reassured that there is no reason to panic.
“Due to the fog, air service is still not affected,” they said.
However, with visibility dropping to around 300m at Safdarjung and 125m at Palam, some flights may be diverted, they added.
Official at the India Meteorological Department said that though the runway visibility at the Indira Gandhi International Airport had hit 200 m earlier on Wednesday, it has improved considerably since then. “The reading in the next hour will be much better,” he said.
Weather experts from the Regional Meteorological Centre had predicted that dense fog may be experienced over parts of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi NCR over the next few days owing to change in the speed and direction of the winds.
Wind speeds have reduced drastically over the last few days, with the highest wind speed recorded at 6kmph on Tuesday. The wind is now more likely to blow from east and northeast directions starting November 30 to December 3.
The changing winds are expected to bring more moisture in, thereby reducing visibility in the region, according to a scientist at the Regional Meteorological Centre.
“The dispersion of aerosols will also reduce and consequently shallow to moderate fog is likely to occur at many places over UP (and Delhi NCR), with isolated dense fog episodes over the next four days,” the scientist said on Tuesday.
Experts have also predicted that pollution levels are also expected to rise over the next few days and could turn the fog into the deadlier smog.
The Air Quality Index in areas like Kashmere Gate, Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Shadipur, Mandir Marg, Shantipath, Lodi Colony and RK Puram all crossed 400 this morning according to Hindustan Times’ real-time air quality tracking app. The level of air pollution in these areas have been called “severe,” and the air is deemed too dangerous to even breathe in.
The scientist said that after December 4 the winds from the east are expected to cease, and visibility will probably improve once again. “However, mist/shallow fog will continue to occur in the mornings as the wind will remain calm,” he added.
Delhi residents can expect the minimum temperature to be around 8-10 degrees Celsius in the next few days, with no significant change in the maximum temperature. The maximum temperature will continue to be around 28-30 degrees Celsius.
The maximum temperature on Wednesday is expected to be 29 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature will be 10 degrees Celsius, according to the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre (RWFC).