The capital woke up to dense fog — first of the season — on Monday morning, with areas in and around the Indira Gandhi International Airport seeing low visibility. According to officials, one of the three runways were closed for two-and-a-half hours. While no flights were cancelled, one was diverted and around 50 flights were delayed.
“Since one runway was shut from 7 am to 9.30 am, and flights were waiting in sequence, there were slight delays,” said an official of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).
The official said landing was not disrupted as it is possible to land even when visibility is as low as 50 m, as the runways are equipped with CAT IIIB Instrument Landing Systems. An Instrument Landing System facilitates flight landing even in low visibility conditions, with the help of radio signals.
Kuldeep Srivastava, head of Delhi’s regional weather forecasting centre, said there was dense fog — the season’s first — in and around the airport from 4.30 am to 8.30 am. “Parts of the Delhi airport witnessed visibility dropping to 0 metres. This was due to low wind speed, excess moisture, and lack of cloud cover. It happens often in winter months,” he said.
He explained that visibility is rarely uniform over a large area, hence, only one of the three runways at the airport was affected.
Srivastava said the city will see dense fog for the next one-two days, following which it will be moderate, adding that the airport is likely to see dense fog because the area has clear skies: “The airport can expect dense fog starting from the first week of December to the last week of January, especially in the morning.”
According to the IMD, very dense fog is when visibility is between 0 and 50 metres, 51 and 200 is dense, 201 and 500 moderate, and 501 and 1,000 shallow. Delhi’s minimum temperature settled at 12 degrees Celsius. The mercury is likely to dip with wind direction changing to westerly-northwesterly.
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