Delhi set to witness coldest day in 119 years on Monday

Delhi set to witness coldest day in 119 years on Monday

According to the Indian Meterological Department, the national capital is expected to see the coldest day in 119 years

A man wraps a blanket to protect himself from cold wave conditions during a foggy morning in New Delhi, Monday, Dec 30,2019. (PTI Photo)

Delhi on Monday recorded its coldest day in 119 years as mercury inched up only to reach a maximum of 9.4 degrees Celsius even as a thick blanket of fog engulfed the region delaying more than 530 flights and throwing railway schedule into disarray.

Vehicles moved with blinking lights through the fog early Monday morning and people were seen crowding around small bonfires across the national capital region as office goers wrapped up in woolens went about with their businesses.

A Delhi Airport officials said at least 530 flights were delayed throughout the day, 40 were canceled and 21 diverted to other cities as dense fog gathered on the runway and surrounding areas making it difficult for pilots to steer aircraft.

At least 54 aircraft coming from Bengaluru to Delhi were delayed due to bad weather in the national capital. At least five flights coming from Bengaluru to Delhi were canceled. Air travellers were stranded at the airport for hours as airliners went all out to help them with updates.

The national capital was in the grip of severe winter 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 weatherman attributed the low temperature in the capital to the dense fog across the region. Visibility had dipped to 0-200 meters for a very long period from 2:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

The weatherman said similar cold day and dense fog conditions with reduced intensity were 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).

At the same time, 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.

The dense fog, severe cold and icy winds added to the hardships of the homeless for whom Delhi government had opened several night shelters across the capital.

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

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