On Tuesday, January 2, the capital Delhi, as well as the northern states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh, were engulfed in a heavy blanket of fog while a cold wave continues to intensify. The cold wave has been particularly felt in the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, which have been hit by snow for the past couple of days.
Four people were killed and four injured in a car accident in Rajasthan state due to poor visibility. A dozen trains were canceled when visibility dropped to 300 m (980 ft), and over 60 delayed on Tuesday. Domestic and international flight operations remained disrupted for several hours due to low visibility; hundreds of flights were delayed. Thousands of passengers were stranded at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) as of Tuesday morning.
Cold conditions and heavy fog are forecast to intensify on Wednesday, January 3. Rail, air and road traffic is likely to remain slowed down due to poor visibility.
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is the only road that connects Kashmir to the rest of India year-round, and might close in the event of heavy snowfall.
New Delhi faced its worst period of air pollution in decades in 2016, when approximately 1 million children were required to stay home from school and thousands of people were hospitalized for respiratory illnesses. Authorities claim the current spike in fog is due in part to farmers in neighboring states burning crops ahead of the upcoming growing season.
Individuals present in affected areas are advised to monitor the situation via local weather outlets and to consult traffic advisories from local authorities prior to traveling.