The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dawn fog clouds city vision
- Airport morning schedule thrown haywire, trains delayed by hours

Dense fog descended on the city early on Wednesday, holding up flights, delaying trains and making driving perilous. Visibility at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport dropped to about 50 metres and no plane could either land or take off till 10 am, when the fog lifted.

Suburban and long-distance train services on both Howrah and Sealdah divisions were also affected. Eastern Railway sources said local trains were delayed by about half an hour, on an average, due to the fog.

The Alipore weather office predicted more fog for Thursday, “as the wind is blowing from a south-westerly direction, leading to incursion of moisture from the Bay of Bengal and a rise in temperature”. The wind pushed the maximum humidity up to 98 per cent. The minimum temperature on Wednesday was 18.6 degrees Celsius, five degrees above normal and three degrees higher than on Tuesday.

“At this time of the year, the wind blows from the north-westerly direction. The shift in wind direction from Tuesday has raised the temperature and moisture levels, leading to early morning fog. If the wind does not suddenly change direction, there are chances of such a fog on Thursday morning, too,” said R.N. Goldar, deputy director general of the Alipore Met Office.

Airport sources said this was the first fog of the winter to affect flights to and from Calcutta. All morning flights of Indian Airlines, Alliance Air, Jet Airways and Air Sahara, numbering about 18, were held up in Calcutta for poor visibility. The delay ranged from three to five hours. Some of the evening flights from the city, including those to Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, were also delayed after the day’s schedule went haywire.

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who was flying to Dhaka via Calcutta from Delhi, touched down around two hours behind schedule after his flight was diverted to Bhubaneswar due to poor visibility over Calcutta. At another end of town, Eastern Railway sources said several long-distance trains were delayed. “The trains had to go slow due to the poor visibility,” officials confirmed.

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