Delhi: 530 flights delayed, 20 diverted as cold bites

Delhi: 530 flights delayed, 20 diverted as cold bites

A man sweeps a street under heavy foggy conditions in New Delhi. (AFP Photo)

Delhi on Monday recorded its coldest day in 119 years with the maximum temperature settling at a bone-chilling 9.4 degrees Celsius, while a thick blanket of fog in the region piled on the misery by delaying more than 530 flights and throwing railway schedule into chaos.

Delhi Airport officials said at least 530 flights were delayed throughout the day, 40 were cancelled and 21 diverted to other cities due to the dense fog.

At least 54 aircraft coming from Bengaluru to Delhi were delayed due to the bad weather while five flights coming from Bengaluru to Delhi were cancelled.

Air travellers were stranded at the airport for hours as airliners went all out to help them with regular updates.

The national capital is in the grip of severe cold as the mercury dipped to 2.2 degrees Celsius on Monday morning and rose reluctantly to a maximum of 9.4 degrees Celsius, making it the coldest December day in Delhi since 1901.

“It is the lowest day maximum temperature in record since 1901 for December,” the weather office said. It added that the earlier lowest day maximum temperature for December was recorded on December 28, 1997 at 11.3 degrees Celsius.

The weather department attributed the low temperature to the dense fog across the region. Visibility had dipped to 0-200 meters for a very long period from 2.30 am to 12.00 noon. Similar conditions are likely to prevail in the capital on Tuesday

The air quality index (AQI) in the capital on Monday was 449 in the severe category. Similar AQI prevailed in Delhi’s satellite towns Ghaziabad (439), Faridabad (465), Noida (471) and Greater Noida (448) and Gurgaon (344).

Amritsar (Punjab) recorded 2.8 degrees Celsius, Ambala (Haryana) 4.4 degrees Celsius, Jaipur (Rajasthan) 2 degrees Celsius, Agra (UP) 2.4 degrees and Gaya (Bihar) 3.8 degrees Celsius.

Train travellers were also hit due to the fog, which spoiled the year-end holidays for some and urgent travel plans of others. Thirty trains were delayed anywhere between two and seven-and-a-half hours, Railways officials said.

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