Dense fog envelops Delhi-NCR, poor visibility in many areas, air quality in ‘severe’ category

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New Delhi: Dense fog shrouded parts of the national capital region (Delhi-NCR) early on Saturday leading to poor visibility in several areas as northern India continues to reel under the cold wave and extreme weather conditions.

“9.8℃ temperature was recorded in Delhi’s Palam at 5:30 AM today, which is likely to fall by 0.2℃ during next 24 hours. Safdarjung recorded 8.6℃ temperature, which is likely to rise by 1.2℃ during next 24 hours,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

“Minimum temperatures over the plains of North India is very likely to rise by 3-4℃ by the morning of January 18,” the IMD added.

According to the System of Air Quality & Weather Forecasting & Research (SAFAR), Delhi’s overall air quality index (AQI) stood at 492 in the severe category.

At least 4 flights to and from Delhi airport are delayed and at least one flight stands cancelled due to fog. Delhi Airport put out an advisory for passengers post-midnight saying, “Due to dense fog, only CAT IIIA and CATIII B compliant aircraft and pilots are able to operate.”

”Passengers are requested to contact the airline concerned for updated flight information, Any inconvenience is regretted,” the airport tweeted at 1.30 am today.

Many people also took to post pictures and comments about the fog on social media. On Friday, Delhi’s minimum temperature rose to 6.4 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal due to partly cloudy weather, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The maximum temperature stood at 20.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal. Moderate fog lowered visibility to 201 metres at Safdarjung and 300 metres at Palam in the morning, an IMD official said. The IMD predicted dense fog in parts of the city on Saturday.

According to the IMD, very dense fog is when visibility is between 0 and 50 metres. In case of dense fog, the visibility is between 51 and 200 metres, moderate at 201 and 500 metres, and shallow at 501 and 1,000 metres.

On Thursday, the Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded a minimum of 2 degrees Celsius, five notches below normal. It was 3.2 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.

Cold and dry northerly/northwesterly winds from the western Himalayas brought the minimum temperature down in Delhi on Thursday. The wind direction then changed to northeasterly. This, along with partly cloudy weather, resulted in an increase in the minimum temperature, said Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the IMD’s regional forecasting centre.

On January 1, the city had recorded a minimum of 1.1 degrees Celsius, lowest for the month in 15 years.

The city’s air quality remained severe on Friday as well. The air quality index had entered the severe zone on Thursday due to the prevailing extremely unfavourable conditions for dispersion of pollutants, government agencies.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered good, satisfactory at 51-100, moderate at 101-200, poor at 201-300, very poor at 301-400, severe at 401-500.

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