As cold wave maintained its grip in the North India, Delhi experienced the worst fog in four years, with flight and trains operations coming to a standstill.
Intense cold wave continued unabated in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan with temperatures settling below normal in most parts of North India adversely affecting normal life.
With dense fog enveloping the IGI Airport, the visibility dropped below the mandatory 50 metres, disrupting flight operations and causing inconvenience to passengers.
Met officials said it may be the worst fog after January 2010, leading to delay and diversion of around 150 domestic and international flights today.
Between 8 PM last night and 8 AM this morning, around 150 flights, either arriving or departing from Delhi have been cancelled or diverted due to extremely poor visibility at the airport due to dense fog, airport officials said.
Around 51 domestic and international flights departing from here and 39 scheduled to arrive here, between 8 PM last night and 8 this morning, have been cancelled.
The fog was being expected to get lesser after 9.30 AM.
Fog started to descend at the airport on Sunday evening at around 6.30 PM and it became dense by 8 PM. The visibility dropped to less than 75 meters due to which flight operations were disrupted, airport sources said. The fog became more dense around 9.30 PM due to which the general visibility was almost nil while the runway visibility was below 50 meters, leading to suspension of flight operations.
Lounges at the airport were packed with passengers who complained that they were not given information about the flight status.
Long queues were seen at airline counters for collection of refunds for cancelled flights or to get a seat on any early flight.
The thick fog affected the rail traffic as many trains were running behind scheduled or were cancelled. Chaos prevailed at Delhi railway station as the passengers were stranded waiting for their trains.
According to MeT department, Delhi is witnessing second spell of dense fog since two days and will continue for another 24 hours.
The national capital has been witnessing thick fog since yesterday.
Dense fog started to descend at the airport around 7 PM last evening. Within two hours, the runway visibility dropped from 500 metres to less than 100 metres.
Operations almost came to a complete halt around 10 PM after runway visibility dipped to less than 75 metres, which is the minimum required visibility condition for an aircraft to land using CAT IIIB instrument landing system.
The general visibility was almost nil.
On Sunday, Delhi recorded the minimum temperature settled down at 7.8 degree Celsius, one notch below normal, and the maximum temperature was recorded at 19.3 degree Celsius, one notch above normal.
Dense fog accompanied with biting cold wave conditions disrupted normal life in Delhi.
Besides Delhi, foggy conditions were reported in Lucknow, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Vizag, Patna and Guwahati leading to disruption in flight movement.
Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region experienced sub-zero temperatures as cold intensified and mercury plummeted several notches below the freezing point.
Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius, over two degrees down from the previous night’s minus 1.6 degrees Celsius, a MeT official said.
Several parts of Punjab and Haryana, including Hisar, Amritsar, Patiala, Bathinda, Narnaul, Ludhiana and Rohtak remained engulfed under a thick blanket of fog due to which several trains criss-crossing the region ran hours behind schedule due to low visibility.