Killer cold claims over 60 lives, Leh freezes at -18

Killer cold claims over 60 lives, Leh freezes at -18


The ongoing cold wave has claimed 27 lives in Jharkhand, thrown life out of gear and forced the government to reschedule school timings across the state.
Dipping mercury and foggy weather have affected railway and bus services while attendance in offices has declined in many parts of northern India. 

The country's most populous state Uttar Pradesh continued to be in the grip of an intense cold wave that claimed 21 more lives, taking the winter deaths in the state to 51, the disaster management department told IANS in the capital Lucknow city Tuesday.
Fatehpur district, some 150 km from Lucknow, Monday remained the coldest in the state with minimum temperature at 5.6 degrees Celsius. In Lucknow, the minimum temperature was just half a degree Celsius above the freezing point.
According to the state Met Office, there would be no relief from the cold winds and thick fog for at least two more days.

In Bihar the situation was no better as all. Schools were ordered shut until Thursday following an intense cold wave that has claimed   10 more lives, taking the toll in the state to 21, an official said.
The meteorological department said Gaya district recorded a low of 6.6 degrees Celsius and Patna 8.8 degrees Celsius Tuesday.
In view of the weather, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered the closure of schools until Thursday.

He also directed the disaster management department to arrange bonfires for the poor.
The dense fog has delayed flights. Several long-distance trains are running late, officials said.
The union territory of Chandigarh and its neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana Tuesday continued to bear the brunt of an intense cold wave that has claimed three lives.

According to officials, the cold and icy winds left two people dead in Ambala in Haryana and one person in Amritsar in Punjab late Monday.
Amritsar in Punjab was again the coldest place in this region Tuesday, recording a minimum temperature of 1.2 degrees Celsius. Ludhiana and Patiala cities in Punjab saw a minimum temperature of 7.8 and 8.2 degrees respectively.

The weather conditions have severely affected the air traffic. Not a single flight has been able to land or take off from Chandigarh airport for the past three days.
Road traffic on most highways in Punjab and Haryana was reduced to a crawl due to thick fog, and the education department has extended the winter break till Jan 10 for primary classes of all government-run schools.

Further north, the chill only got more intense.
Cold wave conditions continued in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday, with district capital Leh recording a minimum of minus 18 degrees Celsius, an official said.
The weather in Srinagar city improved Tuesday as the minimum temperature rose above the freezing point. "The minimum temperature in Srinagar rose to two degrees Celsius today while the maximum yesterday was 5.6 degrees," Srinagar  weather office director Sonam Lotus said.

Meanwhile, the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which had been closed due to snowfall since Sunday, was opened for two-way traffic Tuesday.
The Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu region, situated at a height of 1,700 metres, experienced this season's first snowfall Monday night.

The minimum temperature in most parts of Himachal Pradesh dipped further Tuesday, the Met Office here said. Air connectivity between New Delhi and the hill state resumed partially after the fog cleared in the national capital.
Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district was the coldest place in Himachal Pradesh. It recorded a night temperature of minus 11.6 degrees Celsius, a decline of 4.2 degrees from Monday.

"However, flights between Delhi and Shimla could not be restored on the third day too," an official at the airport in Shimla said.
In the national capital, the wind-chill factor continued to add to the woes of shivering residents Tuesday.

The national capital recorded a minimum temperature of 9.3 degrees Celsius, two notches above average, but the maximum had dropped to 14 degrees Celsius Monday, the lowest in the last five years.

Early Tuesday, visibility was around 800 metres and flights at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) were on schedule, an airport official said.
However, those travelling by train were not so lucky. Hundreds of passengers were stranded in chilly weather at New Delhi Railway Station Tuesday as several trains were delayed for hours following fog in various parts of north India.
On the upshot, the cold wave conditions abated in Orissa Tuesday with the mercury rising across the state, an official said.

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