Dense fog grips city, flights held up, divertedUpdated: Jan 22, 2020 21:57 IST
Gurugram A dense layer of fog enveloped the city on Wednesday morning and reduced visibility to zero at 5.30 am, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Visibility improved only to 50 metres at 8.30 am, said officials of the weather department.
The minimum temperature dropped to 7.1 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, from 9.2 degrees Celsius recorded on Tuesday. Experts said that the dense fog was a result of an increase in humidity and the fall in minimum temperature. The relative humidity at 8.30am was 100%, as recorded by the IMD.
Wednesday’s fog also disrupted flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport with over 250 flights delayed and five diverted. Airport officials said that the number of flights delayed was high also because of the airspace closure for the Republic Day rehearsals.
Another officer at the airport said they have put in place special arrangements to minimise inconvenience to passengers who have been stranded due to flight delays. “We have enhanced the seating capacity in waiting areas inside terminals, marshals have been deployed to manage traffic during fog, additional counters have been set up at immigration, real-time flight updates are being made available inside terminals and airlines have been told to deploy sufficient staff to deal with passengers,” the officer said.
Officers of the Gurugram police department said that visibility on relatively open stretches, such as the Gurgaon-Faridabad Road, Golf Course Extension Road, Dwarka Expressway, Southern Peripheral Road and Sirhaul toll was very poor. However, no major accident or collision was reported.
Commuters said that they drove at a slower pace than usual and had switched on their hazard lights to caution other commuters driving behind.
“Visibility had reduced to below 50 metres, at certain stretches of my drive, especially near the Sirhaul toll, and ahead of Khushboo Chowk. At both these points, I drove at less than 60kmph to have enough time to brake if I had been unable to spot a vehicle or pedestrian ahead,” said Rakesh Kapoor, a resident of DLF-5.
The maximum temperature also dropped by around four degrees Celsius, to record at 15.6 degrees Celsius, on Wednesday. The maximum temperature was around five degrees below the normal for this time of the year.
However, Thursday morning is expected to witness shallow fog, said IMD officials. “Thursday will be partly cloudy and strong surface winds, with a speed of 20-25 kmph, are likely,” an IMD spokesperson said.
The maximum temperature for the next two to three days is likely to be around 16 degrees Celsius, before rising to 21 degrees Celsius, as per the IMD’s predictions. The nights are also likely to get warmer only around the weekend, with a rise of two degrees Celsius predicted.
A spell of light rain is predicted towards the end of this month, said experts.
Meanwhile, the city recorded ‘poor’ air quality for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, with a value of 292 on the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality index (AQI) bulletin at 4pm. Tuesday’s AQI reading was recorded at 290.
Experts attributed the ‘poor’ air quality to the fall in minimum temperature and low wind speeds, averaging 8 kmph.
Particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels on Wednesday were a maximum of 180ug/m3. Tuesday recorded similar PM2.5 levels at 178ug/m3. The national safe limit is 60ug/m3.
Pollution levels are predicted to decrease on Thursday with the rise in wind speed, and my record ‘moderate’ levels, aid air quality experts.