As the cold wave continues to grip Delhi and neighbouring areas, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an orange alert for the city on Sunday. Further, in the wake of dense fog blanketing airport runways and low visibility, flight operations have been disrupted at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.
The visibility is currently poor, and it is likely to deteriorate during the night and morning, as per the forecast. At present, the visibility at the IGI airport has been recorded at 350 metres, and it is likely to be reduced by up to 200 meters in a few hours from now, the IMD stated late on Saturday.
The development comes as the national capital on Saturday recorded its lowest minimum temperature of the season with the mercury dipping to 3.6 degrees Celsius. The IMD predicted that dense fog and prevailing cold wave conditions are unlikely to abate in parts of northwest India during the next 3-4 days, till January 16.
In a statement, Delhi’s IGI airport said, “While landing and takeoffs continue at Delhi Airport, flights that are not CAT III compliant may get affected. Passengers are requested to contact the airline concerned for updated flight information.”
CAT III is a navigation system that helps aircraft land during dense fog and inclement weather conditions when visibility is low. Delhi’s IGI airport is equipped with a state-of-the-art anti-fog landing system called the CAT III Instrument Landing System (ILS). The guidance system aids planes in landing in low visibility with the help of radio signals, etc.
Persisting cold day conditions and thick fog continue to affect the NCR too, with poor visibility prevailing in areas across the Yamuna.
Late on Saturday, the IMD issued a forecast, stating, “Fog conditions observed at 23:30 hours of January 13: Moderate fog in isolated pockets of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and northwest Madhya Pradesh and shallow fog in isolated pockets of Chandigarh, Delhi and Assam.”
According to the IMD, very dense fog is when visibility is between 0 and 50 metres, between 51 and 200 metres is dense, between 201 and 500 metres moderate, and between 501 and 1,000 metres shallow.