Delhi and its adjoining regions woke up to a chilly and fog-laden morning on Thursday, with the minimum temperature plummeting to 6 degrees Celsius in the national capital and visibility on roads dropping to almost zero. Around 134 flights faced delays at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport as an opaque blanket of fog shrouded the Delhi-NCR region, causing visibility to diminish significantly. Both domestic and international flights, encompassing arrivals and departures, experienced disruptions due to the dense fog, according to reports citing Delhi Airport FIDS (Flight Information Display System) data. The thick fog not only impacted air travel but also led to delays in several trains, further exacerbating transportation woes in the national capital. The relentless cold-wave conditions persisted as the minimum temperature reached 6 degrees Celsius in the city.
As of 5.30 am, dense to very dense fog (0-25 meters) was observed in pockets of Uttar Pradesh and isolated areas in Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Southwest Rajasthan, and north Madhya Pradesh. In Safdarjung, Delhi, visibility was recorded at a mere 50 meters, dropping further to 25 meters in Palam. The homeless sought refuge in night shelters as the mercury plunged in the national capital, highlighting the harsh impact of the cold wave on vulnerable populations. Northern India, encompassing Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Delhi-NCR, has been grappling with a severe cold wave, intensifying the need for protective measures against the frigid weather conditions.
The India Meteorological Department’s forecast indicates that Delhi will continue to be veiled in “dense to very dense” fog during the night and early morning on Thursday and Friday. Despite a prediction of mainly clear skies during the day, dense fog is expected to persist till December 29 due to highly favorable conditions for its formation. Relief from the dense fog may arrive after December 30, when an active western disturbance is anticipated in the Himalayan region. This disturbance is expected to trigger rain in the Northern and central plains, bringing a change in wind patterns and providing respite from the prolonged foggy conditions.
Schools Altered Amid Cold Wave Impact
In response to the plummeting temperatures, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced school holidays in various cities on Thursday and Friday. In Ghaziabad, school hours for classes 1 to 8 have been adjusted from 10 am to 3 pm, according to the directive from the District Education Officer. In Aligarh, schools, including those under Aligarh Muslim University, across all boards from Class 1 to 12, will remain closed on Thursday and Friday, as decreed by the District Magistrate. Similar adjustments have been made in Mathura, with class hours modified to 10 am to 3 pm. Jalaun’s schools will remain closed for classes 1 to 8 until December 31, officials announced. Additionally, the state government has declared a winter vacation lasting 15 days, from December 31, 2023, to January 14, 2024, in response to the gripping cold wave across North India.