As Himalayan states freeze, winter cold spreads in India (Weather Roundup)

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 11:00 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) People brought out their 'pheran' woollen overcoats in the Himalayan hills and huddled around small street fires for some warmth Friday. For, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir experienced sub-zero temperatures as did the popular tourist destination of Mount Abu in Rajasthan.

Winter also advanced to the national capital, making for a cold and misty morning, but other northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were yet to feel the chill. In the south though, pouring rain continued in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

People in Kashmir shivered. 'The minimum temperature in Srinagar Friday was minus 3.8 degrees Celsius while it was minus 15 and minus 10 in Leh and Kargil towns of Ladakh region respectively,' L.K. Pandita, assistant director of the weather office in Srinagar, told IANS.

Kashmiris have already started wearing the loose 'pherans' under which they keep their 'kangris' or low-fire earthen pot woven into a willow wicker basket.

Winter also tightened its grip on Himachal Pradesh. Keylong was the coldest town at a minimum temperature of minus 5 degrees Celsius. State capital Shimla recorded a minimum of 3.8 degrees, a slight fall of mercury from the previous day.

Also feeling the chill were tourists in Rajasthan's only hill station of Mount Abu, where the mercury dipped to minus 1.5 degrees Celsius. 'The state is already experiencing two to three degrees below normal temperatures,' said a weather official.

In Delhi, the minimum temperature early Friday morning was 8.7 degrees Celsius, an average for this time of the year.

'It was very cold in the morning when I went to drop my daughter to school, but the day was perfect for shopping and walking around,' said Jayati Singh, a city resident.

Hisar city in Haryana Friday recorded the coldest minimum temperature in the region at 3.8 degrees Celsius. Light fog also engulfed most parts of Punjab, Haryana and their joint capital city Chandigarh in the morning.

'We have observed a sharp fall in the mercury during the last couple of days. We are expecting light rainfall at some places and it would bring a fall of two to three degrees further in the coming days,' a Met official told IANS in Chandigarh Friday.

In Punjab, the holy city of Amritsar was the coldest Friday.

However, winter is yet to make its full impact felt in Bihar, thanks to a partly cloudy sky for several days which is keeping the weather warm at a minimum of around 16 degrees and a maximum of around 27 degrees Celsius.

The cold is expected to set in by Sunday. 'Minimum temperatures will see a fall and people will feel the chill,' said weather official C.S. Patil in Patna.

Parts of Uttar Pradesh have also been unusually warm and foggy. The minimum temperature Friday in Lucknow was 15.4 degrees Celsius, six degrees above what is normal for this time of the season, officials said.

In Andhra Pradesh, heavy rains have claimed 19 lives since Monday, officials said. Normalcy has returned to most affected villages as the rains have subsided since Thursday, but the Met office in Hyderabad has forecast more downpour over the next 24 hours.

The rains have damaged crops in 3.7 lakh hectares of fields in five districts of Andhra Pradesh and affected over 100,000 people.

Some places in Tamil Nadu such as Kanyakumari and Nagercoil experienced rains Friday. The forecast valid till Dec 12 is isolated light to moderate rains. In state capital Chennai, dark clouds sometimes gathered, but the skies did not open up Friday.

-Indo-Asian News Service