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Cold and chilly start to New Year in Delhi

January 01, 2013 11:28 IST

Delhi ushered in the New Year with bone chilling cold and dense fog on Tuesday with mercury plummeting to the season's lowest of four degree Celsius, prompting people to wrap themselves up in more woollens.

The minimum was three degree Celsius below normal and down from the previous day's minimum of 5.5 degrees, which was the previous lowest for the season. On Monday, the maximum was recorded at 13.3 degree Celsius, making it the coldest day.

Mercury at the lowest and icy winds made the city colder than usual in the morning hours with Weatherman predicting similar weather conditions for Wednesday.

Dense fog also enveloped the city in the morning hours affecting road and rail traffic as well as operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The visibility dropped to near zero level.

According a senior official of Indian Metrological office the New Year was ushered in by heavy fog making driving difficult. Those travelling back home in Delhi and Gurgoan and Delhi-NOIDA took almost twice the travel time.

Indian Railways had to cancel several trains due to poor visibility. "The visibility was limited to 50 meters. Several flights also had to be cancelled due to poor weather. Heavy fog is playing havoc," said Pradeep, a photographer who was stranded as his early morning flight was cancelled.

Those living in shelters spent had a hard time. "I could not sleep because of the dip in temperature," said Ram Saran who hails from Bihar and drives a three-wheeler scooter. Heavy snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir and the hill stations in the region have added to the woes of the Delhiites. 

The previous two New Years were a 'warm' affair for the capital as minimum temperature were at above normal levels.

Last year, the minimum was 8.4 degree Celsius, one degree above normal and in 2011, it was 11 degrees, four degrees above normal.

With inputs from PTI

Onkar Singh in New Delhi