New Delhi: Thick fog enveloped the capital on Wednesday morning and commuters struggled to travel in reduced visibility with slow vehicular movement. Thirtyfive trains and eight flights were cancelled and around 40 trains and 118 planes were delayed by the time the fog started lifting in the afternoon.

People shivered as the minimum temperature fell to 5.6 degrees Celsius, a significant drop from 9.3 degrees the day before, and the maximum temperature slumped to 15.5 degrees Celsius, five degrees below what is the average for this time of the season.The Met department forecast more foggy days ahead.

"Thick fog will be seen in the coming two days. The skies will be slightly clear towards the afternoon," an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

"The reduced visibility caused a delay in around 118 flights, while eight flights were cancelled due to bad weather. The runway visibility dipped below 100 metres and the general visibility to less than 50 metres," said an airport official.

While the flight operations were said to be normal after 10.30 a.m., passengers said they were made to wait inside the aircraft for hours even as the flight crew repeatedly promised to take off soon.

"My flight was scheduled for a take off at 9.30 a.m. They said the flight will be taking off soon, and made us sit inside the aircraft. It has been over an hour, and there is no information when the plane will finally take off," Meethu Mitra, who was on a flight to Kolkata, said.

Railway stations also saw surpentine queues at the inquiry counters where confused and tired passengers crowded to know about departures of their trains. The fog hit trains in the whole of  northern India, among them Rajdhani Express to Patna, Howrah, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar.

According to a Northern Railway official, around 35 trains were cancelled due to fog.

Among these trains to Chandigarh, Allahabad, Varanasi, Mathura and Kolkata. Around 40 trains were delayed due to bad weather and poor visibility, added the official.

"After waiting for almost three hours, we came to know that the Lal Quila Express has been cancelled. We had to go to see a sick relative in Kanpur," said Aman Bajpayee at the Old Delhi Railway Station.

Some trains were running two hours behind schedule, while many were running over four to six hours behind their scheduled times. Towards the afternoon, the skies were clear and the fog had started lifting, but the sun was nowhere to be seen.

(Agencies)