New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) North India continued to freeze Sunday with life across the region hit by bone-numbing cold and the toll climbing to well over 100 with at least 16 more people dying in Uttar Pradesh, officials said. The frigid conditions are expected to continue in the week ahead.
The mercury fell to minus 18 degrees in Leh town of Jammu and Kashmir, while several places, both in the hills and plains, experienced zero or lower temperatures as both maximum and minimum temperatures plummeted across the region and icy winds made things worse.
Transport was also hit with many flights and trains delayed by the dense fog.
In Delhi, the minimum temperature dipped to a five-year low at 1.9 degrees Celsius, and the maximum was nine notches below average at 11.8 degrees.
Fog delayed 68 flights, according to a statement from Delhi International Airport Limited.
Over 70 trains were running behind schedule and 15 were cancelled due to dense fog, said a statement from Indian Railway.
In Jammu and Kashmir, Leh was followed by Kargil (minus 17.4 degrees Celsius), while the night temperature in Srinagar, the summer capital, was minus 4.6 degrees Celsius and 6.9 degrees in Jammu, the winter capital.
Frost in the Kashmir Valley and fog in Jammu disrupted traffic, with most trains reaching Jammu delayed and five flights were cancelled. Road traffic was also affected due to one-way traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
Parts of the Dal Lake in Srinagar have frozen, making life difficult for fisherman and boatmen.
Himachal Pradesh also witnessed bone-chilling cold with Keylong freezing at a minus 10.4 degrees Celsius, Shimla shivering at 0.9 degree Celsius and tourist resort Manali at 3 degrees below the freezing point.
But day temperatures across the state were up by an average of two to five degrees due to the dry weather.
Bitter cold conditions continued to prevail in both Haryana and Punjab with temperature falling to minus 1.1 degrees Celsius in Haryana's Hisar town.
Narnaul town too was freezing with a minimum temperature at zero degrees for the second successive day, while Chandigarh had a low of three degrees Sunday.
In Punjab, Patiala town recorded a low of 3.5 degrees while Amritsar had a low of 4.4 degrees.
The cold wave continued unabated for the fourth day in Uttar Pradesh Sunday, with the lowest night temperature of 0.3 degrees Celsius recorded in Muzaffarnagar.
A dense fog enveloped most parts of the sprawling state, specially the western districts closer to Delhi, while icy winds, sweeping the state at 10 km per hour, kept people indoors.
In many areas, day temperatures went down to 12 degrees Celsius, 5 degrees below the average.
Farah in Mathura district recorded a temperature of zero degree Celsius, while temperatures kept low in more than a dozen places including Agra (1.1), Ghazipur (1.5) and Najibabad (1.1) and between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius in Lucknow, Etawah, Allahabad, and Moradabad.
As many as 16 people perished to the cold wave - five in Bahraich, and three each in Faizabad, Amethi and Barabanki. Two deaths were reported in Agra.
Met officials have indicated that the cold wave conditions are likely to continue for most of the coming week.