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Fog has lifted from Wellington Airport alleviating the worst fears of airline passengers who thought they could be left stranded for a second night.
Residents who overlook the airport confirmed the fog, which began drifting in about 4:30pm, had lifted by about 7pm.
During that period about six incoming and six outgoing flights were cancelled, and a similar number were delayed.
MetService forecaster David Miller said the fog problem, which had affected flights for the past two days, now appeared to be over.
"The air is drying up and is not as moist as it was last night. It looks like the chance of fog over Wellington is now diminishing," Miller said.
The fog was created as warm, humid air cooled and condensed over the colder waters of Cook Strait, creating mists which drifted over the South Coast pushed by gentle southerly winds.
It rolled into Wellington on Wednesday evening, disrupting flights through to Thursday morning, before rising temperatures broke up much of the misty weather by 11.30am.
As the first flights landed in the capital at noon, a backlog of more than 5000 delayed travellers had built up, including about 30 passengers had spent Wednesday night in the terminal building.
Wellington Airport spokesman Greg Thomas said, compared to Auckland and Christchurch airports, Wellington had fewer fog days.
On average, Wellington had 4.2 a year, compared to Auckland getting 14.5 and Christchurch's 52.3.
''This does not necessarily mean these were days where there were actual cancellations, but from a weather perspective where fog was present.''
Ships leaving the capital were unaffected by the misty weather, a Harbour Master spokesman said. While vessels tended to be more cautious in fog, radar and other navigation systems made it safe to travel in such weather.
- © Fairfax NZ News