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Delhi: Mercury at 9°C as city wakes up to chilly New Year's morning; several trains delayed, IMD issues fog alert

New Delhi: It was a bitterly cold New Year's morning in the national capital, as people woke up to a cold wave and dense fog on a unusually lazy Monday.
With the minimum temperature in the Capital recorded at 9°C, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the locals called on the administration to make necessary arrangements for the needy or those sheltered at night shelters.
With the mercury going into a free-fall, locals out in the cold were seen huddling around bonfires, taking much-needed warmth from the leaping, crackling flames.
Speaking to ANI on Monday, residents, out and about and running errands in the early hours, urged the government and the authorities concerned to arrange more shelters for people on the streets and the destitute to spend nights in the prevailing biting cold.
"People living on sidewalks are bearing the brunt of the prevailing cold wave in the national capital. One has to travel a lot in the cold to reach the night shelters in the city. They are situated at a significant distance from each other. Not many can go there in this cold," a resident told ANI on Monday.
"We had a lot of trouble spending the night in this cold. We collected some litter on the streets to light a bonfire. This bone-chilling winter has only added to our everyday woes," another man on the street told ANI.
The IMD, meanwhile, put out a warning for 'dense fog' in the national capital in the first week of 2024, with the minimum temperature likely to hover between 8 and 9° Celsius.
"The fog layer (encircled patch) over Punjab, north Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northwest Madhya Pradesh, south Uttarkhand, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal is visible in a satellite picture at 06:15 am of January 1," read a post on the official IMD handle on X.
According to the IMD, a 'very dense' fog is declared when visibility is between 0 and 50 metres, while it is 'dense' when the visibility is between 51 and 200 metres.
Further, the fog is considered 'moderate' when the visibility is between 201 and 500 metres 'moderate', and 'shallow' between 501 and 1,000 metres.
Meanwhile, with dense fog shrouding the entire North Indian belt, several trains to Delhi were delayed owing to reduced visibility on New Year's morning.
Many trains en route to Anand Vihar, Nizamuddin, and New Delhi stations were delayed by 4 hours, according to the Railways.
"A thick fog is prevailing in Varanasi because of which my train is running late. There's been plenty of fog across North India over the last 3 to 4 days because of which several trains are running behind schedule. Otherwise, my train is seldom late," a passenger told ANI.
Earlier, on the last day of 2023, the minimum temperature at the Safdarjung Observatory, the city's primary weather station, was recorded at 11°C.

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