No respite from cold wave across North India

J&K braces for harsh 40-day period as temperatures dip

No respite from cold wave across North India

Intense cold wave continued unabated in North India on Saturday even as Jammu and Kashmir braced to welcome “Chillai Kalan,” the 40-day harshest winter period, set to begin from Sunday.

Chilly weather prevailed in national capital New Delhi on Saturday with the minimum temperature touching 7.2 degrees Celsius, a notch below the normal.
Moderate foggy conditions were witnessed early in the morning in several parts of the city causing drop in visibility but the situation improved as the day progressed.

The maximum temperature settled five notches below the season’s average at 17.5 degrees Celsius. Srinagar recorded a bone-chilling minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, the lowest so far of the season, said a Met department official. The city had recorded the same temperature on December 11.

The minimum temperature was minus 6.2 degrees Celsius in Pahalgam, while Gulmarg recorded a low of minus  3.4 degrees Celsius, compared to the previous night's minus 2.6 degrees, he said.

Leh’s minimum temperature plummeted to minus 13.9 degrees Celsius, against the previous night’s 12.5 degrees, maintaining its position as the coldest place in the state.
Neighbouring Kargil recorded a low of minus 13 degrees Celsius, against the previous night’s minus 12.1 degrees Celsius, the official added.

Air traffic, however, remained normal in the Valley, officials said and added that traffic was also normal on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

Meanwhile, the arrival of “Chillai Kalan” has set people across the Valley to stock food items and fuel.

“Whenever Chillai Kalan begins in Kashmir it signals people to stock food and fuel for Kangris (firepots),” Umar Manzoor, a shopkeeper, told Deccan Herald. Biting cold conditions continued in Himachal Pradesh even as the region had a clear day while the state started limping back to normalcy with partial restoration of water and power supply in Kullu and Manali after seven days.

While the National Highway from Manali to Rohtang Pass was closed, all major roads have been opened and efforts are on to open 150 link roads in the interior areas of Kullu where 83 roads are still shut. Cold wave conditions continued in Punjab and Haryana with all flight operations being cancelled at Chandigarh airport due to dense fog which reduced visibility levels.

Many trains, including Chandigarh-Delhi Shatabdi, Tata Mori and Paschim Express ran hours behind schedule. Dense fog engulfed almost all major cities, including Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala in Punjab and Hisar, Karnal and Ambala. Narnaul in Haryana was the coldest place in the region as it recorded a minimum temperature of 4 degrees Celsius.

In Punjab, Amritsar recorded a low of 4.1 degrees Celsius, the joint capital Chandigarh’s minimum settled at 7 degrees Celsius.

In Uttar Pradesh, the temperature plummeted to below four degrees Celsius, forcing people to remain indoors. The death toll in the season so far mounted to 35 with the death of five more people owing to the cold wave in the last 24 hours.

Sources said visibility was reduced to almost zero at Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport and the first flight could take off only at noon. State capital Lucknow recorded a temperature of four degrees Celsius.

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