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Fog stalls flights for three hours

A dense fog engulfed Calcutta on Friday morning, reducing visibility to the extent that flight operations had to be stalled for three hours from 6am.

The Met office warned of a similar fog on Saturday and Sunday as well.

Twenty-one flights were delayed by three hours or more, and three had to be diverted.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s departure for Malda in a helicopter was delayed from 11.10 to 11.52am because of fog at the destination.

An official in the weather department attributed the fog to a cyclonic circulation that was approaching eastern India from the west. Under its influence the mercury is likely to rise over the weekend.

“The minimum temperature on Saturday is likely to rise to 13 degrees Celsius from Friday’s 12.1. On Sunday it’s likely to be 15. The mercury may dip again from Monday,” said an official.

The visibility at the airport on Friday was normal till 5.48am but drastically reduced to 50m in the next two minutes and then dropped to zero. It was not until around 9am that the fog cleared and flight operations resumed.

An Air India flight to Port Blair took off at 8.58am after the fog thinned and visibility went up to 300m.

Five flights each of Jet Airways and Air India, eight of IndiGo and three of SpiceJet were delayed. Air India’s flight from Bangalore had to be diverted to Chennai. SpiceJet’s flight from Chennai and GoAir’s from Delhi were sent back to their points of origin.