Delhi logs thick layer of fog, 20 flights diverted
Delhi witnesses winter season's first dense fog day, with visibility dropping to 50 meters. Flights diverted and delayed, fog expected to continue for three days. Temperature to drop, pollution levels remain "very poor."
Delhi on Saturday witnessed the winter season’s first dense fog day, with visibility dropping as low as 50 metres in the morning, officials with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The drop in visibility led to at least 20 flights scheduled to land at the Indira Gandhi International airport being diverted, with many others being delayed due to the foggy conditions, airport officials said.
IMD defines visibility below 200 metres to be “dense fog”.
“At 6.30 am, the visibility had dropped to 50 metres at Palam, while it was about 300 metres in Safdarjung. The dense fog at Palam continued till about 9.30am, metres, after which it improved. This was the season’s first dense fog in Delhi,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD, adding that moderate to dense fog is expected to continue for the next three days.
Airport officials said at least 20 flights were diverted from IGI airport to other cities between 6:30am and 9:30am on Saturday — 13 to Jaipur, four to Amritsar, and one each to Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh. They added that several morning and evening flights were delayed due to the foggy conditions.
Meanwhile, the city on Saturday recorded a minimum temperature of 12.3 degrees Celsius (°C), around three notches above normal for this time of the year. However, IMD predicts the temperature will see a drop over the next few days.
“The minimum temperature on Saturday was 12.3°C, but we expect it to drop to be around 10°C by Sunday or Monday. It will continue to gradually drop over the next three days,” said Srivastava.
Officials said that it is normal for temperature to be on the higher side on foggy days, and the mercury drops once the fog dissipates.
The city’s maximum temperature, meanwhile, was 24.7°C, one degree below normal.
Delhi’s pollution levels continue to remain in the “very poor” zone for the third straight day, with a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) reading of 353, according to the national bulletin issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) — a slight improvement from the 372 logged on Friday.
The AQI on November 30 was 398.
Forecasts by the Early Warning System (EWS) for Delhi, a forecasting model used by Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), predict that the air quality is likely to remain in the very poor category for the next six days.