Delhiities brave winter chill on sunless Sunday

Icy winds on a sunless Sunday exposed Delhiites to the coldest day in the past five years with maximum temperature sliding to the season`s lowest of 11 degree Celsius.

Updated: Jan 09, 2011, 21:04 PM IST

New Delhi: Icy winds on a sunless Sunday
today exposed Delhiites to the coldest day in the past five
years with maximum temperature sliding to the season`s lowest
of 11 degree Celsius while a dense fog jettisoned travel plans
of several air and rail passengers.

It could be a similar story tomorrow with the
Weatherman predicting no respite for the citizens as icy winds
are expected to blow across the city throughout the day which
will open its account with fog.

Today`s maximum was ten degrees below normal for this
period of time and down by 1.14 degree Celsius from
yesterday`s 12.4 degrees, the second lowest maximum this

"It was also the lowest maximum for the past five
years," a senior MeT official said.

The night temperatures marginally improved to five
degree Celsius, two degrees below normal, from 4.3 degrees the
previous day but it did not provide much succour as the winds
added to the chill.

"People are experiencing more cold than the actual
temperature because of the wind chill factor. The wind is
decreasing the body temperature resulting in people
experiencing more chill," the official said.

The sun was nowhere to be seen the whole day which
began on a foggy note.

Dense fog almost blinded people as the visibility fell
well below 100 metres besides affecting schedules of at least
40 flights and 80 trains. At around 8 am, the situation
slightly improved as the visibility rose to around 200 metres.

The dense fog hit flight operations at the IGI
airport as schedule of over 40 domestic and international
flights were affected. Some flights were delayed up to four
hours due to inclement weather conditions.

"Most of the flights operated on time but schedule of
about 35 domestic and five international flights were affected
while a cargo flight was diverted back to its origin station
early morning," an airport official said.

Fog started to descend on the airport last night and
thickened around 11 PM, forcing airport authorities to
implement low visibility procedures at around 11.20 pm. It was
terminated after 12 hours, at 11.48 am this morning.

"Six flights, including one from Singapore, were
diverted to Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kolkata after fog
enveloped the airport," he said. Two flights to Bangalore and
Mumbai were cancelled while Air India rescheduled departure
of three flights to New York, Chicago and Toronto.

A railway official said 70 trains were delayed and
nine cancelled during the day.

Low temperature coupled with icy winds from the
northern mountains have made life difficult for the people and
the capital has recorded at least three cold-related deaths
since December 26.