Fog, chilly winds envelop capital, traffic hit (Second Lead)

January 20th, 2012 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Dense fog enveloped the capital Friday, seriously disrupting train and air traffic, while icy winds through the day left people shivering and praying for the sun.

The bone-chilling cold was blamed on the plunging temperature, which touched a minimum of 4.5 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature stayed put at 14.6 degrees.

The visibility in Delhi dropped to less than 50 metres at 8.30 a.m., an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. It led to cancellations of flights and trains, leaving thousands stranded.

Motor vehicles moved at a snail’s pace early in the day.

According to the Northern Railway, 28 trains ran late by more than two hours while 40 were cancelled due to fog that made train journeys risky.

As per the website of the Delhi International Airport Ltd, 66 flights were delayed and 21 cancelled till noon.

Airport officials said fog was not the only reason for the delays and cancellations. Bad weather at destination airports besides operational and technical reasons were also blamed.

According to IMD, Saturday morning too would be foggy but the sky would be clear. The maximum and minimum temperatures could hover around 16 and 5 degrees Celsius respectively.

Across the city, people added more and more layer of woollens to keep warm. The homeless and those in shanties lit bonfires to beat the intense cold.

Businessman Arun Vadala, 32, was forced to miss his cousin’s wedding in Ahmedabad after his train was cancelled.

“It’s frustrating how we suffer year after year from the same problem. Can’t we have a better technology in place?” he asked.

The worst hit in the morning were office-goers and school students.

Visibility was reduced to near zero in the vast stretches of forested land between Delhi and the Gurgaon border in Haryana.

“There was no way we could see anything from the Metro train beyond five feet,” said a college student, Vidya. “Just nothing could be seen beyond that distance.”

In a desperate bid to help the homeless, the Delhi government has opened shelters across the city.

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