Fog engulfs Capital, over 200 flights affected

Visibility under 200 metres at night, some stranded at IGIA for 10 hours.

As dense fog engulfed the city, operations at airports were hit on Monday. Over 200 flights were affected in the last two days, officials said.

Senior officials at the India Meteorological Department on Monday said similar weather conditions are expected for the next few days. R S Rathore, Director-General, IMD, said, "The fog has spread across the Indo-Gangetic belt and similar conditions are expected to persist for the next few days. While some flights might have got delayed, we had expected such weather and due to our preparedness, the situation is under control."

According to weather officials, the reason behind the existing conditions was that easterly winds had swept across the region, bringing foggy clouds along with it.

The visibility at the airport was as low as 175 metres on Monday, officials said. "Of the three operating runways, we had to close down Line 2 because of foggy conditions," Kapil Sabarwal, a DIAL official, said. Forecasts say the visibility at IGI Airport is expected to fall below 500 metres in shallow fog on Monday night and below 200 metres in dense fog early on Tuesday morning.

Owing to the low visibility, which made landing difficult, operations were suspended for almost two hours. Passengers were stranded at airports for several hours. Sources said the fog led to diversion of 18 flights, including two international and 15 domestic, while at least 12 were cancelled.

DIAL officials said flight schedule might have been affected due to the weather conditions at other airports."While a detailed report is awaited, it should be kept in mind that flights could have been affected because of weather conditions at airports," a DIAL official said.

On Monday, the minimum temperature recorded in the city was 8 degrees Celsius while the maximum was 18 degrees Celsius. The next couple of days might see a drop in the temperature by a notch or two, Met officials said.

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