Mercury in downward spiral; Fog hits road, rail traffic

Mercury in downward spiral; Fog hits road, rail traffic

Bone-chilling cold coupled with dense fog added to the winter misery in several parts of northern India today even as the mercury dipped further across the region.

Thick fog in the plains threw train schedules out of gear with 47 Delhi-bound trains forced to alter their timings.

The national capital recorded a low of 6.1 degrees Celsius, which was a notch below the normal while the maximum in the city was at 19.7 degrees.

Temperatures were in a free fall in the Kashmir and Ladakh divisions of Jammu and Kashmir where the mercury plummeted by almost 10 degrees last night at Leh, which recorded a low of -17.4 degrees as against -7.9 degrees the night before.

The temperature in the nearby Kargil town settled at a low of -19.0 degrees, a drop of almost six notches.

Srinagar recorded a minimum of -3.3 degrees while Pahalgam in south Kashmir saw the mercury declining by over seven degrees to settle at the season's lowest of -14.7 degrees.

The forecast is for moderate to heavy rainfall or snow over the state in the coming three days.

The winter chill tightened its grip over Himachal Pradesh with fresh snowfall reported in the higher reaches even as icy, high-velocity winds lashed the state.

Parts of Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur, Pangi and Bharmaur experienced intermittent snowfall. Churdhar and Dhauladhar ranges and the high altitude areas of Chamba district, too, had another spell of snowfall.

The sky remained heavily overcast and the minimum dropped to -5.3 degrees in Manali while Shimla recorded a low of 0.7 degrees. The high-altitude tribal areas groaned under minimum temperatures ranging between -15 and -25 degrees.

Weather officials have warned of heavy to very heavy snowfall, rain and thunderstorm in the middle and higher hills of the state in the coming 72 hours.

There was no let up in the biting cold wave sweeping Punjab and Haryana with the mercury registering a slide across the two neighbouring states.

The lowest minimum for the two states was -0.5 degrees at Adampur in Punjab's Jalandhar district.

Hisar in Haryana, which yesterday hit a low of -2.1 degrees, today experienced slight relief at 2.2 degrees.

Rajasthan remained in the grip of intense cold with the mercury dipping to 0.5 degrees at Mount Abu followed by Churu at 1.2 degrees.

A dense fog cover affected normal routines while hitting rail and road traffic.

A North Western Railway spokesperson said that 11 trains were running late with one other having been rescheduled due to foggy weather.

Fog also disrupted normal life in Uttar Pradesh with the state experiencing dry weather conditions.

Night temperatures fell appreciably in Kanpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Jhansi and Agra, and also in Faizabad, Bareilly and Meerut.

The lowest minimum in the state was 2.3 degrees at Muzaffarnagar.

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