No mercy from cold wave, mercury dips further in north (Roundup)

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 03, 2013 12:50 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) There was no mercy Thursday too from the cold wave sweeping through the northern states. Temperatures continued to remain below normal, disrupting normal life, and thick blanket of fog affected flights and train services across the region.

The national capital continued to shiver as the minimum temperature settled three notches below average at 4.4 degrees Celsius a day after the city recorded the coldest day in 44 years with the maximum at 9.8 degrees Celsius and the minimum 4.8 degrees.

The maximum temperature Thursday is expected to be around the 13 degrees Celsius mark.

With icy winds sweeping most parts of the state, the cold wave conditions hit Uttar Pradesh hard, pulling down day temperatures in many towns and cities.

State capital Lucknow's day temperature was 11.3 degrees -- six notches below what is normal for this time of the season.

The chill was in sharp contrast to the warmth of the last few days when the sun showed up and day temperatures climbed up to 17 degrees Celsius in Lucknow.

Train and air services were also severely hit in Lucknow: More than 17 trains were running late by four to six hours, said railway officials.

Reports say both day and night temperatures plummetted in many places Wednesday, leading to the return of the chilly weather.

Muzaffarnagar at 0.6 degree celsius was the coldest place in Uttar Pradesh. Kanpur, Lucknow, Bareilly, Moradabad and Meerut continued to reel under the intense cold.

Weather officials predict a harsher winter, especially in western Uttar Pradesh and areas close to the national capital.

Fog is likely to continue in most of the western parts and visibility was likely to come down to just 50 metres, said weather officials.

In Delhi too, many trains were running well behind schedule while two were cancelled. Five flights were delayed due to the fog, airport officials said.

The free fall of mercury continued in Kashmir and Ladakh and Met Office warned that the bitter cold would get worse.

The weather was likely to remain dry for a few more days and would bring down night temperatures by a few more notches, a Met official said.

The minimum temperature was minus 4 degrees Celsius in Srinagar, minus 7.8 degrees in Pahalgam, minus 9 degrees in Gulmarg, minus 16 degrees in Leh and minus 16.2 degrees in Kargil.

A film of frost could be seen on Srinagar's roads. Motorists are avoiding venturing out before the sun comes out and preferring to stay indoors before the evening frost.

In Haryana, Narnaul town was freezing Thursday morning at 0.5 degree Celsius, said Met officials.

Though minimum temperature rose slightly at some places since Wednesday, the severe cold and thick fog continued to wrap Punjab and Haryana.

Three deaths have been reported in Punjab -- two were from Amritsar and one from Hoshiarpur.

In Himachal Pradesh, the mercury dipped further despite a dry weather. Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district recorded minus 9.9 degrees Celsius -- the lowest in the hill state, a Met official said.

The tribal belt of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu and Chamba experienced extremely cold conditions with mercury staying between minus 10 and 15 degrees.

Kalpa in Kinnaur saw a minimum temperature of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, while it was three degrees below the freezing point at tourist resort Manali and slightly warmer 4.4 degrees in Dharamsala.

Shimla recorded a minimum of 1.2 degrees Celsius, down from Wednesday's 2.1 degrees.

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