Temperature in Delhi drops to 4.4°C as thick fog disrupts travel

Weather office says cold snap is likely to continue over north-west India for the next three days

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A thick blanket of fog shrouded the Indian capital on Wednesday as temperatures plummeted to the season's lowest, reducing visibility and causing travel chaos.

Frosty winds from the Himalayas swept through the city, bringing the mercury down to 4.4°C. Thick fog was created as the cold air met polluted warm air rising up from the land's surface.

At least 19 trains to Delhi were delayed for hours, Indian Railways said, and up to 100 flights were delayed at the city’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday, when visibility dropped to just 50 metres.

India's Meteorological Department (IMD) shared satellite images that showed a thick layer of fog over the Indo-Gangetic plains and adjoining central and eastern parts of the country.

The weather office said the cold snap was likely to continue over north-west India for the next three days.

According to the IMD, a “cold day” is when the minimum temperature is less than or equal to 10°C below average, and the maximum temperature is at least 4.5°C below normal.

A woman tries to warm up next to her tea stall on Wednesday.  Reuters

Thousands of homeless people in the capital city are struggling in the cold weather. Many are burning rubbish and discarded boxes in the absence of blankets.

Schools across Delhi and neighbouring cities were closed amid the biting cold. Authorities have also instructed schools in eastern Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh that had opened this week after the winter break to close.

Updated: January 04, 2023, 9:29 AM