Dense fog conditions in Delhi and other parts of north India brought visibility down to a minimum today, delaying over 150 domestic flights and forcing cancellation of over 250 trains. Cold wave conditions in the capital continued for the fifth consecutive day, although the minimum recorded temperature rose marginally.
In several areas of the national capital, visibility was down to 25 metres early this morning. Vehicles were seen moving slowly through the fog cover with hazard lights on. In the early hours, authorities of Delhi airport put out a fog alert, saying low visibility procedures are in progress. Later in the day, they put out another update, saying the weather conditions may affect services.
"A total of 267 trains were cancelled today due to fog and other conditions. Till 11 am, a total of 170 trains were running late and out of 170 trains, 91 trains (54%) were running late due to weather conditions," the Railways said in a statement, according to news agency ANI.
The Safdarjung observatory recorded a minimum temperature of 3.8 degrees Celsius this morning, marginally higher than 1.9 degrees recorded yesterday. Weather stations at Lodhi Road, Ayanagar and Ridge recorded a minimum temperature of 3.6 degrees, 3.2 degrees and 3.3 degrees, respectively.
The India Meteorological Department this morning tweeted a satellite image of the fog cover that extended from Punjab and northwest Rajasthan to Uttar Pradesh, covering Haryana and Delhi.
The weather office had Saturday predicted that cold day conditions are likely to continue over northwest India for the next two days.
The cold wave in Delhi has been so intense that its minimum temperature is lower than that of hill stations in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Meteorologists attribute the long spell of intense cold to a large gap between two western disturbances. So, frosty winds from snow-clad mountains blew over Delhi for longer-than-usual.
The chilly weather conditions have prompted the Delhi government to issue an advisory to all private schools, asking them to remain shut till January 15.