A thick veil of fog coupled with a cold wave greeted Delhiites on the first day of 2007 on Monday. Such was the density of the fog that several major landmarks, like the India Gate, were barely visible to motorists driving by, as fog reduced visibility to 200 metres.
As predicted by the Met office and several other weather agencies, the city’s fresh date with dense fog started soon after the advent of the New Year on Sunday night when partygoers had a harrowing time negotiating the fog while their drive back home. “An increase in the relative humidity and an unusual calmness of the wind had set the stage perfectly for the extreme foggy condition that engulfed the city last night,” said the Duty Officer at the Safdarjung met office.
If Sunday night was bad, Monday was worse. The layer of fog that embraced the city in the morning “did not let visibility increase to more than 150-200 metres,” the weatherman said, adding that the day’s best visibility figures of 500 metres were recorded only by evening.
This was the first instance of dense fog hitting the city in the morning this season. So far, the morning fog had been restricted to the IGI airport area, causing tremendous disruptions to flight schedules.
Monday’s condition at the airport was no different. “The fog ensured that objects beyond 350 metres were not visible. The situation may continue on Tuesday as well,” said a senior official at the IGI airport unit of the Indian Meteorological Department.
While the fog disrupted airlines operations, the cold wave was apt for a city still in the mood for celebrating the New Year. Scores of people were seen thronging public places like Lodhi Garden, India Gate and the likes throughout the day.
“During the day, the prevalent northerly wind made the mercury dip as low as 6 degree-Celsius. It stabilised later and settled at 8.7 degrees, a degree above normal,” the Duty Officer said. The city’s coldest day was recorded last week with the minimum temperature touching the 5-degrees Celsius mark.
“As far as cold is concerned, it will not be very severe at 8-degree Celsius. But the northerly wind may make the air a bit nippier,” he said.