Another day of air, rail traffic disruption by fog (Lead)

January 3rd, 2009 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) Hundreds of air and rail passengers were stranded in the bitterly cold national capital Saturday due to the dense fog that led to numerous flight cancellations and train delays.As general visibility dropped to 50 metres and runway visibility to 100 metres, 20 domestic flights were cancelled.

“The early morning outbound flights from the Indira Gandhi International Airport were cancelled due to heavy fog. The visibility was far below the required of 150 metres minimum,” an airport official said.

“Twenty domestic and eight international flights from here were cancelled and six domestic flights were delayed,” he added.

Fog has been affecting the flight movements in the capital since Monday and has led to the delay of more than 500 flights and cancellation of around 75 others since then.

The slew of cancellations and delays has left the passengers wiser with many choosing to travel late in the day.

“I have to go to Mumbai for a friend’s marriage. Seeing the weather conditions of the past few days I booked a ticket for an afternoon flight hoping that the fog situation would improve,” said Meenakshi Sharma, a PR consultant.

The situation was no better at the city’s railway stations, where passengers and their relatives had to wait for hours as over 70 trains were also delayed by an average of more than three hours.

“My daughter was coming by the Goa Express. The train was scheduled to reach Delhi 6.25 a.m. but it was six hours late,” said Neeti Arora.

Motorists also had a tough time negotiating the foggy roads of the capital in the morning.

According to meteorological officials, the fog will persist for a few days. The minimum temperature recorded Saturday was 5.4 degrees Celsius, while the maximum was 20.2.

“The minimum and maximum temperatures today (Saturday) were two notches below the normal,” a met official said.

“The north-westerly winds blowing over northern India have brought the present spell of chill and will continue in the coming days. The temperature next week is likely to increase as another set of western disturbances is moving in from the hills,” he added.

On Friday, Delhi recorded the lowest temperature of the season at a minimum of four degrees Celsius and a maximum of 17.9.

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