As many as thirty-eight flights were diverted from the Delhi airport after heavy rainfall accompanied by hailstorm and gusty winds hit parts of the national capital region on Thursday. 23 domestic and nine international flights were diverted from the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport to nearby cities between 6:00 pm and 8:45 pm. Remaining six flights that were diverted were either private jets or belonged to the Indian Air Force. Among those diverted was a chartered plane carrying Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who was scheduled to fly from Jodhpur to Delhi.
While nine flights were diverted to Jaipur, three flights were diverted to Lucknow and three were diverted to Amritsar. Two flights were diverted to Varanasi and one flight was diverted to Indore, according to reports. Besides, several flights were facing departure delays of more than two hours due to severe rain and hailstorm in the national capital.
Earlier in the day, Delhiites woke up to a cloudy morning with the temperature hovering around 12 degrees Celsius to 15 degree Celsius. Light showers also disrupted traffic at a few places in and around Delhi. Those areas include Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Meerut, Khatauli, Modinagar, Shamli, Baraut, Faridabad, Noida, Ballabhgarh, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Sambhal, Muradabad, Amroha and Narora among others.
Meanwhile, social media has been flooded with a series of dramatic visuals and photographs showing people enjoying the spell of rain and thunderstorm in the national capital region.
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The hailstorm came a day after the capital city witnessed the warmest day of this winter with the maximum temperature recorded at 25.1 degrees Celsius - two notches above normal for this time of the season.
On Tuesday, the Meteorological Department (MeT) predicted moderate rainfall and thundershowers accompanied by gusty winds and a hailstorm due to a prevailing western disturbance over entire northwest India.
In the wake of this scattered rain and high wind speed, the overall air quality of Delhi was improved to 'moderate' on Thursday. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the south-westerly winds from the Arabian sea will bring more moisture in the capital.
The authorities said, 31 areas in the national capital recorded 'moderate' air quality, while four areas had 'poor' quality air. None of the areas recorded 'very poor' or 'severe' air quality. However, the wind speed is expected to slow down in the coming days which will further deteriorate the air quality to poor in the national capital region.