North India braces for a white New Year

Himalayan states reel under sub-zero temperature

Delhi and Leh were among some of the places in northern India which recorded their lowest minimum temperatures so far this winter as the cold gained in intensity in the region.

The national capital saw the mercury dipping to 4.5 degrees Celsius on a clear but chilly day as icy winds swept the city. The minimum on Saturday had been 4.9 degrees.

The maximum in the national capital on Sunday was recorded at 19.5 degrees, one notch below normal, while the minimum was at three notches below normal, the MeT department said.

The weatherman said that conditions would remain cold and dry over the next 24 hours with a possibility of rain or snowfall on December 31.

The cold was sweeping through Himachal Pradesh in its full fury as the mercury hovered around freezing point in most parts of the state on what was by and large a clear day.

The minimum ranged between -12 and -22 degrees as the lower hills reeled under sub zero temperatures. Keylong and Kalpa in Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts recorded minimums of -9.7 and -5 degrees, respectively, while Manali shivered at -2.4 degrees.

Shimla was lashed by icy, strong velocity winds and recorded a minimum of 2.1 degrees.
The forecast is for snow and rainfall at isolated places in the lower, middle and higher hills of the state over the coming 48 hours, raising the hopes for a “White New Year.”

The winter chill had almost all of Punjab and Haryana under its grip with Hisar recording its lowest minimum yet as the mercury dropped across the two neighbouring states.

Hisar in Haryana saw the mercury drop to a new low of -0.8 degrees after the minimum there had touched freezing point on Saturday.

Narnaul recorded a low of 0.1 degrees, six notches below normal. In Punjab, Adampur in Jalandhar district registered the lowest recorded minimum at 0.5 degrees. Normal life continued to be affected by the rising cold in parts of Raja­s­than where Churu and Mount Abu saw temperatures dropping below freezing point.

Churu and Mount Abu recorded minimums of -0.5 and -1 degrees, respectively. Such has been the drop in the mercury that the civic water supply froze in Churu while ice flakes were seen in the upper layers of Nakki lake in Mount Abu.

In Uttar Pradesh, the weather remained mainly dry with Agra recording the lowest minimum in the state at 1.4 degrees. Fog disrupted normal life at isolated places as the mercury fell appreciably in the Lucknow, Jhansi and Agra divisions.

Kashmir continued to shiver due to biting cold with the minimum temperature across the Valley dropping several degrees below the freezing point. The cold wave across the Valley and Ladakh region has intensified over the last four days with sub-zero night temperatures resulting in freezing of water supply lines in several areas.

A Met department official said Srinagar recorded a low of -3.7 degrees Celsius. The coldest temperature was recorded on December 16 at -4.3 degrees Celsius.

Temperature in the ski-resort of Gulmarg plummeted to a minimum of - 9.6 degrees Celsius, making it the coldest night of the season, he added.

Leh also recorded its coldest night of the winter with the minimum temperature dropping to -17.3 degrees Celsius, while Kargil recorded -16.4 degrees.

The official said the health resort of Pahalgam recorded a minimum temperature of 7.4 degrees Celsius against previous night’s -6.9 degrees.

Kokernag, another health resort in south Kashmir also recorded -5.2 degrees, the coldest so far.

At Qazigund on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which is open for one-way traffic, recorded a minimum of - 4 degrees, two notches below normal.

With the weather department forecasting moderate snowfall in plains and heavy snowfall in upper regions of Kashmir from Tuesday, travellers have been advised to exercise caution in the wake of Western Disturbance looming over the Valley.

“Because of a persisting Western Disturbance over the Valley, we are expecting moderate snowfall in the plains, while some of the Valley's higher reaches could experience heavy snowfall tomorrow (Monday),”  the official said.

The rain and snowfall are likely to bring relief to the people by raising the night temperatures. The weather office, however, said day temperatures in the valley are likely to fall substantially.

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