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Bitter Cold Grips Delhi-NCR: Minimum Temp at 3.5°C; 170 Flights, 30 Trains Affected Amid Dense Fog

Delhiites woke up to yet another day filled with shivering cold as the minimum temperature dropped to 3.5 degrees Celsius. On top of the cold wave, dense fog also engulfed the national capital.

Operations of several trains and flights were hit due to poor visibility. Many of the flights at the Indira Gandhi International Airport were even cancelled.

The visibility recorded at Delhi’s main weather station — Safdarjung observatory — and Palam was 200 metres at 5:30 am.

“The distinction between low clouds and fog in satellite imagery is often a challenge,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

Earlier, IMD also predicted dense to very dense fog conditions over North India during the next five days.

COLD WAVE AFFECTS DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS

The biting cold conditions had people sitting around bonfires to protect themselves the chilly weather. Some people took refuge in the government-run shelter homes to shield themselves from freezing in this weather.

These night shelters in the national capital are meant for the homeless people who live on the streets and have nowhere else to go in the cold. The shelters provide them with hot water, food, beds and blankets.

Meanwhile, the Republic Day parade rehearsals were also affected. The practice, on Wednesday, took place at Kartavya Path.

Around 170 flights — both domestic and international — are reported to be delayed at the Delhi Airport due to dense fog.

People waiting at the airport and the railway station had to wait for hours. One of the passengers at the IGIA told ANI, “My flight is more than two hours late due to the bad weather. However, we cannot blame anyone. We cannot do anything about it.”

Meanwhile, at least 30 trains approaching New Delhi Railway Station (NDRS) are running late. Trains coming from far away destinations are, in fact, reported to be delayed by 24-25 hours.

Premium trains like Vande Bharat, Shatabdi and Rajdhani(s) are fairly delayed.

One of the passengers — waiting at the NDRS — said, “I am travelling to Kerala. My train, Kerala Express, is five hours late from the scheduled time.”

ZERO VISIBILITY DAYS

Earlier on Sunday, for the first time in this winter season, zero visibility was reported from Amritsar to Dibrugarh across Ganganagar, Patiala, Ambala, Chandigarh, Palam, Safdarjung, Bareilly, Lucknow, Barhraich, Varanasi, Prayagraj and Assam’s Tejpur.

The IGIA airport also recorded zero visibility amid the dense fog conditions, IMD had said. More than 500 flights were delayed due to the adverse weather on Sunday.

Again on Monday, at least 436 flights leaving Delhi were delayed and 87 flights were cancelled, as per aviation website, Flightradar24. Monday was also the season’s coldest morning with the minimum temperature recorded at just 3.3 degree Celsius.

In the early hours of Tuesday as well, the Palam Airport recorded zero visibility.

WHAT DOES IMD SAY?

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) scientist Soma Sen said that they are not expecting much change in the minimum temperature, adding that low clouds may also continue for the next two to three days.

“In Delhi and in North India, we are not expecting much change in the minimum temperature. Maybe a one-degree rise is likely because of the sunny skies, but foggy conditions will persist. Low cloud conditions may also continue for the neighbouring regions, because of which Haryana and Punjab will see severe cold day conditions for the next two to three days,” Sen said.

Sen also said that the ongoing foggy mornings and cold wave conditions across the plains will continue for at least the next two days.

However, the weather department said that apart from the foggy morning, Delhi is likely to have clear skies on Wednesday.

IMD also said that dense to very dense fog conditions are likely to prevail for a few hours over many parts of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi till January 18 and in some parts till January 21.

UP is also likely to experience the same dense to very dense fog state for a few hours in morning or night till January 18.

Isolated pockets over Uttarakhand and north Madhya Pradesh till January 18 and those of Bihar and north Rajasthan till January 21 are also likely to face dense to very dense fog.

SCHOOL TIMINGS CHANGED

The district administration has changed the timings for students of nursery to Class 8 of all the schools in Noida and Greater Noida.

School for students — nursery to Class 8 — will start at 10 am from January 18 in view of the cold weather conditions, Gautam Buddh Nagar Basic Education Officer Rahul Panwar said.

“In compliance with the instructions given by the District Magistrate, Gautam Buddh Nagar, in view of the dense fog and extreme cold, classes in all schools from nursery to 8 will be conducted from 10 am from January 18 till further orders,” Panwar said in the order.

Classes nursery to 8 were earlier ordered to be suspended till January 16.

The school timing for students of Class 9 to 12 was changed last week to 10 am to 3 pm. This time change will be in effect till January 20, an order issued by District Inspector of Schools Dharmveer Singh said.

(With ANI, PTI inputs)

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