Delhi and its neighbouring regions were engulfed by dense fog on Wednesday, causing severe disruption to life and travel in the Indian capital. The fog reduced visibility to less than 50 metres in some areas, affecting road, rail, and air traffic.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the fog was caused by a combination of low temperatures, high humidity, and calm winds. The minimum temperature recorded in Delhi on Wednesday was 7.8°C, while the maximum was 19.4°C. The relative humidity was 100% in the morning and 87% in the evening.
The fog also worsened the air quality in Delhi, which was already in the “very poor” category. The Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was 329 on Wednesday, which is considered harmful for health. The main pollutants were particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10, which are tiny particles that can enter the lungs and bloodstream.
Flights and trains delayed or cancelled due to poor visibility
The fog affected the operations of flights and trains in and out of Delhi, causing delays and cancellations. According to the flight tracking app Flightradar24, hundreds of departing flights were delayed by 25 minutes on an average and flight arrivals were delayed by eight minutes.
The Delhi airport authorities said that 50 flights were delayed and four were cancelled due to the fog. They also said that only flights that were compliant with the Category III instrument landing system (CAT III ILS) were able to operate, as the visibility was below the minimum required for normal operations. CAT III ILS allows flights to land in low visibility conditions using advanced technology.
The fog also affected the train services in the northern railway zone, which covers Delhi and its neighbouring states. According to the railway authorities, 24 trains were delayed, six were rescheduled, and 11 were cancelled due to the fog. The passengers were advised to check the status of their trains before travelling.
People face difficulties and risks due to fog
The fog also created difficulties and risks for the people living and working in Delhi and its surrounding areas. The fog reduced the visibility on the roads, making driving and commuting hazardous. The traffic police issued advisories and warnings to the motorists, asking them to drive slowly and carefully, and to use headlights and fog lights.
The fog also affected the daily activities and routines of the people, especially the students and the workers. Many schools and offices were closed or delayed their timings due to the fog. The people also complained of health problems, such as cold, cough, and breathing difficulties, due to the fog and the pollution.
The fog also posed a threat to the wildlife and the environment, as it reduced the sunlight and the temperature, affecting the growth and survival of plants and animals. The fog also increased the risk of fire accidents, as many people used bonfires and heaters to keep themselves warm.
Fog expected to continue for next few days
The IMD said that the fog was likely to continue for the next few days, as the weather conditions remained favourable for its formation. The IMD also forecasted rain and thunderstorms in some parts of Delhi and its neighbouring states on Thursday and Friday, which could bring some relief from the fog and the pollution.
The IMD also advised the people to take precautions and avoid exposure to the fog and the pollution, as they could cause health problems. The IMD also urged the people to follow the guidelines and advisories issued by the authorities, and to cooperate with them in ensuring safety and smooth functioning of life and travel in the capital.