New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) Severe cold and fog Saturday continued to haunt the people in north and central India, claiming six more lives in Uttar Pradesh.
With the latest deaths, the toll in Uttar Pradesh has hit 69. Officials Saturday reported three fatalities from Shahjahanpur, two from Bareilly and one from Basti.
Most of those who lost their lives were pavement dwellers with no shelter from the harsh winter, an official said.
The freezing cold has forced authorities to close schools in many places, including in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Chandigarh and Orissa.
The Chandigarh airport remained shut for the fourth straight day Saturday in the wake of thick fog while Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport worked on low visibility procedures despite the weather and most flights operated on time.
For the second day Saturday, water taps had not frozen in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, sparing residents the ordeal of lighting small fires around the pipes to defreeze them.
The weather in Srinagar was comparatively warmer even while remaining below freezing poing (minus 0.4 degrees Celsius), according to the Met office.
Uphill towns like Leh and Kargil are still well below zero at minus 13.6 degrees and minus 10.4 degrees, respectively.
Himachal Pradesh saw fresh snow fall in Lahul and Keylong. The schools in Una district have been closed til Tuesday.
Tour operators in Shimla are making the best of the snow, luring winter tourists with attractive skiing plans.
Down in the plains, Delhi and its neighbouring cities experienced a foggy Saturday.
While flights operated at the IGI, many trains were delayed in the national capital.
The weather office has predicted a colder and foggy Sunday for the city with the temperature ranging between 5-12 degrees.
Schools in Delhi have been closed till Jan 13.
In Chandigarh, scores of passengers were stranded at the airport as fog hit flights in and out of the city. However, trains ran on time.
All major cities in Punjab and Haryana remained below 5 degrees minimum temperature with Haryana's Narnaul town coldest at 1.5 degrees.
Jaipur in Rajastan, on the contrary, had a welcome warm day with the sun up and shining. However, cities like Bikaner, Jaisalmer and the shivering Mount Abu saw another very cold day Saturday.
Orissa has been passing through extreme weather conditions for over a week and Saturday the authorities suspended morning classes in all schools.
Phulbani, the district headquarters of Kandhamal, was the coldest in the state at 3 degrees.