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Delhi got off to a misty start on Day 1 of the New Year as a blanket of fog descended, forcing delay of 400 trains and 500 flights.
The mercury dipped to a minimum temperature of 5.7 degrees Celsius, and a maximum of 20 degrees, both a notch below the season’s normal, the weather department said.
Around 500 flights were delayed and eight cancelled as dense fog severely hampered visibility at the Indira Gandhi International airport. The weatherman has predicted similar conditions for Tuesday, with possibility of dense fog in the morning and early evening.
According to railway data, as of December 31 midnight, 400 mail and express trains reached late, after getting delayed on the account of fog. As of 6:30 am, 56 trains arrived late, 20 were rescheduled and 15 trains were cancelled.
The Patna Rajdhani Express and Poorva Express were 12 hours late, while the Rewa Express and Magadh Express were running 11 hours behind schedule.
The railways said it had started a GPS-enabled fog assistance system to continuously calculate the distance of the train in relation to the next landmark, enabling drivers to know when exactly a signal is approaching. The national transporter has recently installed 4,920 such devices in the most fog-affected rail zones.
On Sunday, the minimum temperature had settled at 6.4 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal.
Nearly all flights arriving and departing from Delhi were affected. About 453 domestic and 97 international flights were delayed. With 23 flights cancelled, all of which were domestic ones, according to airport an official.
No take-offs could take place between 7:30 am and 9:30 am, according to an airport official. The runway visual range was 100-125 metres, while aircraft require more than 125 metres for take-off. While planes could land in Delhi, they were delayed because of unavailability of parking bays, occupied by aircraft waiting to take off, the official said. There were no diversions to nearby airports due to fog.