‘Cold day’ conditions back in city, 160 flights hit by fog | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Cold day’ conditions back in city, 160 flights hit by fog

By, New Delhi
Jan 22, 2024 06:28 AM IST

Delhi experienced another cold day with temperatures dropping and thick fog causing disruptions to flights and train services. The minimum temperature fell to 4.8°C, while the maximum temperature plunged to 15.8°C. The India Meteorological Department issued an "orange" alert for further disruptions on Monday. Visibility remained below 200 meters for several hours, leading to delays, diversions, and cancellations at the airport. Delhi's air quality remained "very poor". The weather agency predicts similar conditions for the next 24 hours with dense fog and below-normal temperatures.

Icy cool winds coursed through Delhi on Sunday as another cold day slashed temperatures dramatically and enveloped the city in a thick fog that pinched visibility and threw flights and train services into disarray once more.

A thick mist covers Raisina Hill on Sunday. (PTI)
A thick mist covers Raisina Hill on Sunday. (PTI)

The minimum temperature fell nearly four degrees, from 8.5°C on Saturday to 4.8°C, three degrees below normal. The maximum temperature, meanwhile, plunged to 15.8°C, almost a couple of degrees cooler than 17.7°C a day ago, and five degrees below normal.

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According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), a “cold day” is classified as one when the maximum is at least 4.5°C below normal and the minimum is below 10°C. Both these conditions were met on Sunday, which was Delhi’s fifth cold day of the year.

This month, Delhi has recorded a cold day on January 4 (with a maximum temperature of 12.5°C), January 5 (14.6°C), January 9 (13.4°C) and January 19 (14.2°C).

“We saw dense to very dense fog till 10.30am on Sunday. And even as the sun shone during the day, strong winds with speeds of 10-12km/hr blew consistently through the day,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD.

Similar temperatures and fog cover are likely on Monday at least, said the weather agency, warning people of fresh disruptions as it issued an “orange” alert.

Though Safdarjung is representative of Delhi’s weather, the maximum temperature was even lower at other stations. It was 12.7°C at southwest Delhi’s Jafarpur and 13.1°C at Palam. Gurugram meanwhile recorded a maximum at 14.3°C and Noida was at 15.8°C.

The lowest minimum across the city was 4°C at Lodhi Road. It was 4.6°C at Gurugram and 5.2°C at Noida.

With the low temperatures came a thick fog that entangled through the city and impaired flight operations once more.

The visibility remained below 200 metres for nearly nine hours and then fell to zero for close to six hours between 3am and 9am.

Over 150 flights were delayed at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, even as four were diverted and six were cancelled, according to officials.

“We should see similar weather prevail in the next 24 hours, with night-time temperature to remain low. Dense to very dense fog is likely in the early hours of the day and even during the day, icy-cold winds will keep the maximum below normal,” said Srivastava.

IMD’s forecast shows that the maximum is likely to be around 17°C at Safdarjung, while the minimum is likely to be around 5°C.

“Cold day conditions are likely in isolated places. Dense to very dense fog is also likely,” said an IMD official.

Delhi’s air quality remained “very poor”, deteriorating marginally in comparison to Saturday. The 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was 349 (very poor) at 4pm on Sunday. It was 329 (very poor) at the same time on Saturday.

Forecasts by the Early Warning System (EWS) for Delhi — a forecasting model under the ministry of earth sciences — shows Delhi’s air is unlikely to touch ‘severe’ now for the rest of the month.

“Delhi’s air quality is likely to improve but will remain in the ‘very poor’ category on January 22. The air quality is likely to stay ‘very poor’ on January 23 and 24. The outlook for the subsequent six days shows the air quality is likely to remain between ‘poor’ and ‘very poor,” said EWS in its daily bulletin on Sunday.

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