Foggy, cold, severely polluted day in Delhi; 50 flights, 69 trains delayed
Met officials said though the temperature rose to 8.4ºC on Tuesday from Monday’s minimum of 5.7ºC, it actually felt chillier.delhi Updated: Jan 02, 2018 10:50 IST
Fog, cold and pollution together clouded the national Capital for the second day of the new year.
Tuesday morning saw train and flight operations affected due to dense fog. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the visibility had dropped to 400 metres in the city. Though the morning temperature rose to 8.4 degrees Celsius on Tuesday from Monday’s 5.7 degrees Celsius, Met officials said it felt colder as the ground had not warmed up. “As the maximum temperature had only risen to 20.1 degrees Celsius on Monday, the earth had not been warmed up and one could feel the cold more acutely on Tuesday,” an official said.
According to the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s app showing live updates of flights, around 30 domestic and 20 international flights, which were supposed to land in Delhi by noon or earlier, were delayed. Around 10 flights coming to Delhi were either cancelled or not operating on Tuesday.
Equipment at Delhi airport allows flights to land if runway visibility is above 75 metres, while at least 125 metres of visibility is needed for take-offs. As the runway visibility had ranged between 600 metres and 1000 metres as of Tuesday morning, the delays are consequential of the lag from the last two days, Met officials at the airport said.
On Monday night, according to the Met office, the visibility on some of the runways had ranged between 75-100m. On Sunday, the visibility at almost all runways was less than 75m, resulting in grounding of many flights and diversion of at least 50 flights.
On Tuesday, at least 69 inbound trains were delayed by up to 29 hours, while 24 trains were rescheduled and 25 trains were cancelled due to fog, a Northern Railways spokesperson said.
Pollution also left much to be desired. At 9am, Delhi’s average air quality index (AQI) — a measure of pollutants in the air — hovered in the severe range, with an AQI of 405 on a scale of 500. All individual stations in the city also recorded severe or very poor air quality. Punjabi Bagh had the worst reading, where the AQI had risen to 477 because of the copious amounts of the finer and more dangerous particulate matter, PM2.5, in the air.
Areas close to Dilshad Garden had the ‘best’ air, with the lowest AQI. However, this too was in the very poor range, with an AQI of 311.
The IMD, meanwhile, predicted “dense fog at many places with very dense at isolated places very likely over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, West Uttar Pradesh, north-west and East Madhya Pradesh from midnight to forenoon.”