Lucknow, Jan 5 (IANS) The intense cold wave continued to sweep through Uttar Pradesh Saturday, claiming at least 16 lives since early Friday, officials here said.
The inclement weather claimed three lives each in Sonebhadra, Barabanki and Ballia districts, while one person each was reported dead in Kushinagar, Hathras and Mirzapur towns, a state government official said.
In view of the prevailing weather conditions, authorities in the state capital Lucknow ordered closure of all schools up to Class 8 till Jan 13.
"Keeping in view the chilly conditions, junior schools have been closed till mid-January," District Magistrate-Lucknow Anurag Yadav told IANS Saturday.
"All schools from Class 9-12 have been ordered to open at 10 a.m. If any school is found flouting the orders, strict action would be initiated against its administrators," he added.
The closure orders were issued to all the government, semi-government and government-aided schools affiliated to UP, ICSE and CBSE boards.
The district magistrate said that further directions in this regard would be issued after a review of the weather conditions.
The regional Met Office here said the minimum temperature in Lucknow was 2.1 degrees Celsius Saturday, which was five degrees below the season's average.
The minimum temperature in Kanpur settled at 3.7 degrees Celsius, while it was 4.7 degrees in Varanasi and 5.2 degrees Celsius in Gorakhpur.
J.P. Gupta, director of the regional met department here, said the weather would remain more or less the same across the state in the next 24 hours and the night temperatures are likely to be in the range of 2-4 degrees Celsius.
Heavy fog in western Uttar Pradesh led to disruption of rail, vehicular and air traffic with as many as 20 trains running behind schedule, some by more than 10-12 hours.