NEW DELHI: Delhi and parts of North India, including Uttar Pradesh, woke up to a cold and foggy morning on the first day of New Year 2018.
As northern India experienced the season's worst fog, Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport suspended operations with visibility dropping below 50 meters. Over 350 planes flying into and out of Delhi were either suspended or delayed.
The poor visibility also affected train services, with 56 trains running late, 20 rescheduled and 15 canceled.
In Delhi, the minimum temperatures dropped to 7 degrees Celsius with maximum temperature hovering around 21 degrees Celsius on Monday morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to be around 23 degrees Celsius and five degrees Celsius respectively, said an India Meteorological Department official.
Pollution levels also breached hazardous and unhealthy levels in the national capital. The Air Quality Index recorded at Delhi's Shadipur was 332, at Siri Fort - 388, at ITO – 182 and at Dwarka – 257.
Cold wave and dense fog also affected other parts of North India.
Parts of Uttar Pradesh – Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Jhansi and Agra – experienced dense fog, which affected train and flight services.
In Bihar, over 12 people reportedly died due to cold and fog in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Sheohar and Darbhanga districts.
The mercury continued its downward spiral in Jammu and Kashmir. Leh in the Ladakh region braved the coldest night so far this year at minus 15.2 degrees Celsius.
Srinagar city recorded a minimum of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius.
According to the MeT, dense fog condition is likely to continue over next few days in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and parts of Haryana, Punjab and West Bengal.
On Sunday too, the national capital was covered in a thick blanket of fog as the minimum temperature plummeted to 6.4 degrees Celsius. No flights could take-off from Delhi for nearly four hours between 7.30 am and 11.05 am, according to an airport official.