Delhi: Thick fog grounds flights, derails train timings, temp dips to 6.3°C
A number of passengers, stuck at airports and railway stations, tweeted out their frustrations, with at least four flights and 16 trains being cancelled due to the reduced visibility. The dense fog is expected to continue on New Years’ Day, Monday, with visibility likely to be around 200 metres, the MeT department warned.delhi Updated: Dec 31, 2017 23:12 IST
Delhi was greeted by the season’s thickest fog on Sunday morning, with flight and train operations being majorly affected and visibility dropping to zero in many parts of the city.
A number of passengers, stuck at airports and railway stations, tweeted out their frustrations, with at least four flights and 16 trains being cancelled due to the reduced visibility. The dense fog is expected to continue on New Years’ Day, Monday, with visibility likely to be around 200 metres, the MeT department warned.
On Sunday, the mercury too dropped to 6.4 degrees Celsius in the morning hours of Sunday, making it the second coldest day of the season so far, according to officials of the India Meteorological Department. Last month, the city recorded its lowest temperature of the season on December 24 when the mercury dipped to 6.3 degrees Celsius.
“We had some easterly winds and moisture content in the air increased. This combined with low temperatures and calm winds, gave way to the very dense fog. We can expect a similar situation on Monday,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, a scientist at the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre.
The reduced visibility severely impacted flight and train operations in the city, with the MeT department at the airport stating that the runway visibility was less than 75 metres between 7 am and 11 am, which caused at least 50 diversions.
The visibility gradually improved through the day, clearing up to 3,500 metres at 5.00pm. However, flight operations continued to be affected at the Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport till 6:30pm.
The MeT department had earlier forecasted dense fog for the day with various airlines taking to Twitter to warn passengers about possible delays. Air India had asked passengers to check their flight schedules before they leave for the airport. However, a number of passengers were still left stranded at the airport.
“I have spent the entire day waiting for my flight. I had gone to Pune on a short trip and had an afternoon flight back to Delhi. However, I ended up waiting at the airport in Pune for six hours. The delay in the flight has forced me to cancel my plans for New Year’s Eve,” said Divya Oberoi, a 41-year-old Delhi resident who works at a foreign mission.
Divya’s flight was scheduled to depart at 1.10pm on Sunday, but it ended up landing in Delhi five hours behind schedule.
Also, the dense fog led to 57 trains being delayed, 18 being rescheduled and 16 cancelled, according to the Northern Railways spokesperson.
The average 24 hour pollution level also spiked in the city on Sunday, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) touching 398, on a scale of 500, in the very poor category. The AQI on Saturday was recorded at 395.
“There is a lot of humidity and fog. So, pollution usually rises with it. The pollution levels will probably be around the same levels on Monday too,” said a CPCB official.