Flights, trains delayed as cold grips north India (Round-up)

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 01, 2013 15:00 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) Most parts of north India reeled under bitter cold conditions on the New Year's day, temperatures dipping below freezing point in Jammu and Kashmir and fog delaying flights and trains in several states. The national capital was fogged in Tuesday morning.

In New Delhi, 37 flights and 13 trains were cancelled due to heavy morning fog, leaving passengers stranded. Another 24 trains coming in to Delhi were delayed by hours.

The minimum temperature dipped to four degrees Celsius, the season's lowest. The maximum temperature was 15.3 degrees, five notches below average.

Jammu and Kashmir shivered with the minimum temperature across the valley staying much below the freezing point Tuesday and the weather office forecast a further dip in the night temperatures during the coming days.

"The minimum temperature was minus 2.5 degrees Celsius in Srinagar, minus 5.4 in Pahalgam and minus 8.2 degrees in Gulmarg," Sonam Lotus, director of the local Met office, told IANS here. "Night temperatures are likely to fall further."

Clear skies and bright sunshine greeted people in Bihar on the first day of the New Year Tuesday.

"There has been a respite from cold wave conditions in Bihar for the last four days. Sunny weather may continue for next two days," A.K. Sen, director of India Meteorological Department at Patna, said.

Bihar reeled under severe cold conditions last week.

"Dense fog would continue in the state during early mornings. After Jan 2-3, the cold wave may return," Sen said.

Chapra was the coldest place in Bihar with the minimum temperature at five degrees Celsius. Purnia and Gaya recorded a minimum of six degrees.

State capital Patna recorded a minimum of eight degree Celsius Tuesday, a Met official said.

Temperatures also plummetted across Punjab and Haryana. Met officials said Tuesday that the maximum temperatures at most places were eight to 10 degrees Celsius below normal in the past 24 hours.

Karnal in Haryana had a high of 10.4 degrees, 10 degrees below normal. Ambala city at 10.3 degrees was nine degrees below normal in the past 24 hours.

Chandigarh witnessed a high of 11.2 degrees, nine degrees below normal. This was the lowest high on the last day of the year in the past eight years.

In Punjab, the Sikh holy city of Amritsar saw a high of 10 degrees, nine degrees below normal.

Most places across both states witnessed fog, affecting road, rail and air traffic. Flights from the Chandigarh airport were affected due to poor visibility.

In Lucknow, dense fog on the outskirts delayed a dozen trains and led to cancellation of five Tuesday. Many trains continue to run several hours behind the schedule.

A Met Department official forecast warmer day temperatures but colder nights, and said cold wave was likely to return in the coming days. Flights were also disrupted due to fog.

Himachal Pradesh continued to reel under a cold wave with the higher reaches experiencing temperatures well below the freezing point.

Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti, was the coldest in the state with a low of 6.5 degrees below the freezing point. The town saw minus 9.3 degrees the previous day (Monday).

Kalpa, 250 km from here, recorded a minimum temperature of 1.4 degrees Celsius, while it was one degree in Manali and 5.6 degrees in Dharamsala.

The Met office at Shimla has forecast mainly dry weather in the state till Jan 5.

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