Delhi was engulfed in a thick blanket of fog on Thursday, reducing visibility drastically across the city but flight operations were running normally, officials said.
However, more than 120 inbound and outbound trains were either rescheduled or delayed, some of them by as much as 20 hours, railway officials said.
Airport officials described visibility as “fine” and said there was no impact on flight operations due to the weather conditions.
The regional met department said the lowest visibility at Palam airport was 100 meter at 7.30 am. At the Safdarjung airport, the lowest visibility was 50 metre at 7.30 am.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) recorded the minimum temperature at 9 degree Celsius while maximum is expected to be 23 degree Celsius.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is predicted to be at 372 in the “very poor category” on Thursday, according to state-run System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).
The AQI in areas like Punjabi Bagh, Lodhi Colony, Mandir Marg, Anand Vihar, and Chattarpur crossed 400 in the morning, in data recorded by 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 thick fog reduced visibility in parts of the city and landmarks and prominent sightings such as the India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhavan were hidden by the dense fog early morning.
“I drove very slowly as I could not see things ahead of me. I might as well have taken the Metro to go to office. Driving is very difficult,” said Nitin Kumar, who was travelling to Noida.
Gurgaon also witnessed a cold and foggy morning as visibility dropped to less than 50 metres. The minimum temperature was recorded at 10 degree Celsius, four degree less than Wednesday.
Commuters were seen driving on the National Highway -8 with fog lights on. Traffic was also slow in the morning hours.
As the visibility was below 50 meters, commuters had a tough time travelling on the internal roads and traffic moved at a snail’s pace on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway (NH-8).
Traffic is expected to be delayed at important junctions that include the Shankar Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, Hero-Honda Chowk and Iffco Chowk intersections.
“People were driving slowly as the visibility was low. A cold wave has also hit the city on Thursday,” Pradeep Kumar, commuting along Sector-30, said.
The IMD has predicted showers in the next few days leading to the mercury sliding to five degree Celsius. Officials said dense fog will prevail till January-end.
“The western disturbance, which is currently hovering over Jammu & Kashmir, is likely to move towards Rajasthan and neighbouring states. It will bring along a cold wave,” an IMD official said.