A bone-chilling cold wave is racing across northern parts of India, with the National Capital on occasions becoming colder than many hill stations. High winds and surface moisture keeps northern India covered in dense fog. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted thick fog in Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh for the next two days, while Bihar is likely to experience it for the next five days.
The IMD has issued an “orange” alert for certain parts of northern India, including Delhi, warning that dense fog, cold days and cold wave conditions would persist. A senior IMD meteorologist said short-term relief is likely after a couple of days under the influence of back-to-back western disturbances.
“Cold wave and cold day conditions over northwest India (are) likely to abate after 48 hours. Dense to very dense fog conditions over many parts of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar (are likely) during the next 48 hours and decrease in intensity and distribution thereafter,” the IMD said in a statement.
Visibility in most northern cities was very low. In Punjab, Bhatinda recorded a 0 m visibility and Amritsar was at 25 m, while Chandigarh touched 0 m.
In Haryana, Ambala recorded 25 m visibility and Hissar at 50m. In Delhi, visibility in Safdarjung was at 25, and Palam at 50 m. Uttar Pradesh remained one of the worst affected states with zero visibility at Agra, Lucknow (Amausi) and Bareilly, 25 m at Varanasi, 50 m at Bareilly, Baharaich and Prayagraj. In Bihar, Bhagalpur recorded a 25 m visibility, Purnea and Gaya 50m and Patna 50 m. Meanwhile, northwest Rajasthan’s Ganganagar recorded 25 m visibility.
According to the weather office, ‘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’.
As many as 267 trains, including 82 express ones, 140 passenger trains, 40 sub-urban trains, one parcel, and four empty rake trains, had to be cancelled due to dense fog, leaving travellers in limbo.
The cold snap, which is straining power grids and posing challenges to the homeless and animals, prompted the Delhi government to extend winter vacation in schools till January 15.