Delhi in grip of one lakh sq km ‘monster fog’ that had also engulfed Lahore and Bihar
At least four flights had to be diverted, seven cancelled and 113 delayed at Delhi’s IGI airport because of the combined effect of poor visibility and operational issues.delhi Updated: Jan 26, 2018 22:56 IST
On Friday morning, Delhi was engulfed by a ‘monster fog’ that covered more than six lakh square kilometers from Pakistan in the west to Bihar in the east.
Scientists of the Indian Meteorological Department said that at least 12 out of 15 airports in the region, including the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore, were affected as visibility dropped below 50 metres.
At least four flights had to be diverted, seven cancelled and 113 delayed at Delhi’s IGI airport because of the combined effect of poor visibility and operational issues.
At least 21 trains were cancelled, 44 trains were running behind schedule and 11 had to be rescheduled
“It was a part of the ‘Great Indo-Gangetic Plain Fog’ that covered eastern Pakistan, north India Plains covering Punjab, Haryana, north Rajasthan, Delhi, UP and Bihar. Visibility dropped below 50 metres in 12 out of 15 airports in the region,” said RK Jenamani, head of the meteorological office at IGI airport.
Extended airport and satellite data analysis showed that the monster fog started forming on January 24 when moisture levels started building up because of the rains triggered by a western disturbance. Even Delhi received a spell of light rain on January 23. The fog intensified on the night of January 25 and January 26 morning.
Dense fog is likely to prevail on Saturday too. Conditions are likely to improve from Sunday as visibility is expected to be around 200-500 metres.
“Low wind speed and high moisture levels in the morning hours resulted in the dense fog. The wind speed had dropped to less than 5 km per hour. Visibility – both at Safdarjung and Palam – had dropped to less than 50 metres,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, a senior scientist at the regional weather forecasting centre.
In some regions, dense and very dense fog conditions prevailed for around 13 hours starting from around Thursday night.
“Satellite data shows that while the fog covered an area of 4.3 lakh square kilometers on Thursday morning, by Friday morning it had engulfed an area of more than six lakh square kilometers,” he added.
This is the second spell of dense fog that has hit northwest India, including Delhi-NCR. The first spell occurred in the first week of January.
On Friday, the minimum temperature was 7 degrees Celsius, two degrees below normal. The maximum temperature was 18.8 degrees Celsius, which was four degrees below the climatic normal.
“Both the night temperature and the day temperature are likely to rise to around 10 degrees and 23 degrees, respectively, over the next one week. It is because a western disturbance is approaching. But unlike the previous one, this wont trigger any rain in Delhi-NCR,” said Srivastava.