Cold wave across North India: Heavy fog in Delhi hits rail traffic, four flights diverted; schools in Haryana to remain shut on 30, 31 Dec

  • Three flights were diverted from Delhi airport on Monday morning due to heavy fog, even as airlines like IndiGo and SpiceJet tweeted about poor visibility and asked passengers to keep a track of their flight status

  • Meanwhile, entire North India continues to reel under intense cold on Sunday as the Haryana government decided to close schools for two days

  • While Srinagar recorded the coldest night of the season, Jaipur registered the lowest minimum temperature in more than five decades

Delhi-NCR witnessed a thick blanket of fog, reducing visibility and affecting vehicular movement in the streets on Monday morning, apart from adversely impacting the air and rail traffic. Several airlines have issued advisories to passengers taking flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport.

In the National Capital, dense fog blanketed many areas, including Kalindi Kunj, Mayur Vihar Phase-1, RK Puram and Delhi cantonment area. A minimum temperature of 2.5° Celsius was recorded in the Delhi on 29 December, the second coldest day of December since 1901. Early on Monday morning, the temperature in Delhi was at 4.6° Celsius which at Palam was recorded as 4.8° Celsius.

Six people, including two minors, were killed when their car skidded off the road and fell into a canal in Uttar Pradesh's Greater Noida on a foggy Sunday night, police told PTI. "Eleven people were on board the Maruti Ertiga. The car fell into the Kherli canal in Dankaur area. They were taken to a hospital, where doctors declared six of them dead, while the remaining five are undergoing treatment," a police spokesperson said. The accident appears to have taken place due to low visibility caused by fog, the official said. There was one more car accompanying the Ertiga, the occupants of which were residents of UP's Sambhal district. They were going to Delhi, according to police.

Sixteen flights were diverted and four cancelled from the Delhi airport on Monday due to heavy fog, an official told PTI. "Normal operations have been suspended at Delhi airport due to poor visibility, only CAT III B (instrument landing system) compliant pilots can land. Passengers are requested to stay in touch with the airline concerned for updated flight information. Due to the foggy weather conditions and low visibility at the airport, three flights diverted and none has been cancelled," Delhi Airport said in a statement.

A CAT IIIB system helps with a precision approach and landing when the runway visibility is at a distance no less than 50 feet (15m) and is at a visual range less than 200 meters and most certainly not less than 50 meters.

At least 30 trains were running late due to low visibility in the Northern Railway region on Monday morning, according to ANI.

Meanwhile, many homeless people have taken refuge at night shelters near Anand Vihar Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT) and Sarai Kale Khan, among other areas.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), rain is likely in the capital city and its adjoining areas such as Noida, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Faridabad from 31 December onwards. "This weather phenomenon is likely to continue till 3 January," predicted the weather forecast agency.

Since 14 December, the Delhi has been experiencing "severe cold days" with the average minimum temperature on Sunday morning being recorded at 3.4° Celsius, four notches below what is considered normal for this time of the year. The minimum temperature in various parts varied with 2.5° Celsius being recorded at Ayanagar, 2.8° Celsius at Lodhi Road, 3.2° Celsius at Palam and 3.6° Celsius at Safdarjung.

A significant increase in wind speed is expected over Delhi-NCR from Tuesday evening under the influence of approaching western disturbance and easterly winds in the lower level. Light rain is expected over Delhi-NCR during the night from 1 to 3 January, 2020 and hailstorm is expected on 2 January, 2020, it added.

Meanwhile, the entire North India too continued to reel under intense cold on Sunday as the Haryana government decided to close schools for two days and reduced visibility due to dense fog affected the movement of flights and trains at several places.

Skymet predicts that light to moderate rain and thundershowers are likely to occur in different parts of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh between 1 and 3 January, 2020. "A western disturbance is likely to approach the Western Himalayas which will be further resulting in light to moderate rain and thundershowers at many places associated with hailstorm activity between 1 and 3 January," the weather agency said.

 Cold wave across North India: Heavy fog in Delhi hits rail traffic, four flights diverted; schools in Haryana to remain shut on 30, 31 Dec

Vehicles ply at a road with headlights on during a cold and foggy night in New Delhi, Sunday. PTI

 

In Haryana, where the minimum temperatures have been hovering close to the freezing point at some places, the state government has decided to close schools on 30 and 31 December, an official statement said. "Thereafter, between 1 and 15 January, 2020, all schools in the state will remain closed on account of winter holidays," it said.

The day temperatures in Haryana have been settling in the range of 10-13° Celsius at most places. IMD said severe cold will continue unabated over the next couple of days in Haryana and Punjab.

While Srinagar recorded the coldest night of the season on Sunday, Jaipur registered the lowest minimum temperature in more than five decades. However, Delhi, which is witnessing the longest spell of cold weather in the last 22 years, is likely to get some relief from the intense cold wave as the wind direction is expected to change, an IMD official said.

"Change in wind direction from north-westerly to easterly has started and reduction in cold day and cold wave has begun from today (Sunday). This is reflected in the maximum and minimum temperatures," the official said.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the fringes of the Dal Lake froze on Sunday as the mercury continued its freefall in Srinagar which experienced the coldest night of the season at minus 6.2° Celsius. The minimum temperature across the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh Union Territory stayed several degrees below the freezing point, intensifying the cold wave in some areas in the region.

Banihal town along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway recorded a low of minus 2.2° Celsius, while the minimum in Bhaderwah in Doda district was minus 0.8° Celsius. Jammu recorded a minimum of 5.7° Celsius, 1.7 notches below normal.

Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district, recorded a minimum of 3.3° Celsius, the official said, adding the town recorded the coldest night of the season on Friday when the mercury plummeted to 1.5° Celsius. The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded the low of minus 6.6° Celsius on Sunday night, up from the previous night's minus 7.5° Celsius, he said.

The night temperature at Pahalgam resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 10.4° Celsius as against minus 11.2° Celsius on Saturday, he said. Pahalgam, in south Kashmir's Anantnag district, was the coldest recorded place in the valley, he added.

He said Leh town, in the Ladakh Union territory, recorded a low of minus 19° Celsius, compared to the previous night's minus 19.1° Celsius. The nearby Drass town froze at a low of minus 28.7° Celsius.

The IMD office has forecast rains and snowfall in Kashmir on New Year's eve which is likely to bring respite from cold.

In Rajasthan, Jaipur's minimum temperature settled at 1.4° Celsius — lowest in more than five decades while heavy fog and intense cold wave affected normal life. On 13 December, 1964, the minimum temperature in the city had dropped to zero degrees Celsius.

Mount Abu, the state's sole hill station recorded a temperature of 3° Celsius below the freezing point on Sunday morning. Sikar recorded zero degrees Celsius followed by Churu (1.2° Celsius), Pilani (1.6° Celsius), Banasthali (1.8° Celsius), Bikaner (2.6° Celsius), Kota (2.8° Celsius) and Jaisalmer (3° Celsius).

Traffic movement was affected due to dense fog in Pilani, Churu, Tonk, Jaipur, Kota, Swai Madhopur, Bundi, Bikaner, Sriganganagar and Jaisalmer districts, the official said. The minimum temperatures in most parts of the state are likely to drop further in the next couple of days, he added.

Himachal Pradesh too is likely to witness snowfall on New Year's eve while isolated places in the plains and low hills may get rainfall on 1 and 2 January, 2020. The minimum temperature in several parts of the state settled around two notches below the season's normal on Sunday, with Keylong recording a low of minus 11° Celsius. Manali, Solan, Bhuntar, Sundernagar and Kalpa shivered at sub-zero temperatures.

The IMD department has forecast dense fog in isolated places of plains and low hills of the state for Monday.

 

In Uttar Pradesh, dry weather persisted while cold wave intensified in most parts. According to the meteorological department, rain is likely to lash eastern and western parts of the state on 31 December and 1 January 2020. Moderate to dense fog occurred at many places in the state, the department said.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 30, 2019 14:46:21 IST