Cold keeps grip on north India, fog affects 51 trains

The cold wave persisted in north India Wednesday as many  places recorded temperatures below the freezing point and thick fog affected the running of 51 trains. However, Delhi and Shimla witnessed a rise in mercury.

It was the second consecutive day when the national capital saw a rise in the day and night temperatures, bringing some respite to the city's 1.2 crore people. The minimum temperature settled two notches below average at 5.2 degrees Celsius whereas Tuesday it was 4.1 degrees.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 23.9 degrees, which too was higher than Tuesday's maximum of 22.3 degrees Celsius. A thick layer of fog enveloped the national capital Wednesday morning, affecting the running of at least 51 trains -- 27 were cancelled and 24 were disrupted as fog reduced visibility to 200 metres.

Severe cold wave conditions continued unabated across the Kashmir Valley and the Ladakh region as night temperatures remained below the freezing point. Leh recorded a minimum of minus 16 degrees.
"The night temperature was minus 3.4 degrees Celsius in Srinagar," meteorological office director Sonam Lotus told IANS in Srinagar.

"It was minus 7 degrees in south Kashmir's Pahalgam hill station, minus 8.2 degrees in north Kashmir's Gulmarg ski resort, minus 5.2 degrees in Qazigund town, minus 3.5 degrees in Kupwara town and minus 4.6 degrees in Kokernag town," he said. "Leh town in Ladakh region was the coldest at minus 16 degrees while Kargil town had minus 15 degrees," he added.

Most of the lakes and water bodies in the valley were frozen at the margins Wednesday the morning, making boating and rowing difficult for the fishermen and Shikara operators. But the cold wave slightly eased its grip in Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla with a minimum temperature rising to 4.6 degrees from Tuesday's 3.6 degrees. Its maximum was 15.1 degrees. But most parts of the state saw sub-zero minimum temperatures.

The night temperature in Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district, was minus 6.4 degrees. Punjab's Amritsar city recorded a low of minus 1.4 degrees, four degrees below normal. The maximum was 19.7 degrees.

In neighbouring Haryana, Hisar was the coldest with a low of 1.1 degrees. It recorded a maximum of 17 degrees. The state education department announced a change in the timings for schools due to the cold wave conditions. Haryana Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal said classes would now be held from 9 a.m. to 3.30 p.m till Jan 31.

Agra was the coldest city in Uttar Pradesh Wednesday with the minimum and maximum temperatures of 2 and 19.8 degrees respectively.  But this did not deter the admirers of the Taj Mahal from visiting the white marble monument. Ticket sales crossed 35,000.

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