Sunny day brings respite for north India, but chill persists (Roundup)

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 14:40 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) A bright sun provided much needed relief from cold in most parts of north India Thursday, but mercury levels remained below average. Seven people died of cold across Uttar Pradesh, taking the total number of cold-related deaths in the state to 117 this winter season.

Delhi saw a maximum temperature of 24.6 degrees Celsius, four notches above the average for this time of the season. The pleasant sunshine added to the comfort, but the joy may remain shortlived as the weather office predicted showers for Friday.

'The maximum temperature was recorded at 24.6 degrees Celsius while the minimum settled at 5.3 degrees, two notches below average,' an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Himachal Pradesh too was alerted by the Met department about the approaching strong western disturbances that was expected to bring more snow and rain over the weekend.

A weather office statement said that there were chances of widespread rainfall and snowfall Jan 14 and 15 due to western disturbances - storm systems originating from the Caspian Sea in Central Asia and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

The minimum temperature in Shimla was 4.1 degrees Celsius Thursday, while it was minus 6.2 degrees at Kalpa in Kinnaur district, 1.5 degrees at Bhuntar and 4.5 degrees at Dharamsala.

Seven people died of cold across Uttar Pradesh, taking the total number of cold-related deaths to 117 this winter season. However, the day saw bright sunshine in various parts of the state, bringing some respite from the chill.

While four persons were reported to have died in Gonda district, two deaths were reported from Sitapur. A constable succumbed to the cold in Gorakhpur.

The lowest temperature Thursday was recorded in Najibabad town of Bijnore district, where mercury plummeted to 2 degrees Celsius, followed by the state capital Lucknow, which touched a minimum of 3.2 degrees.

The minimum temperature in Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar was four degrees above normal and in winter capital Jammu it was three degrees below normal. The weather office forecast moderate to heavy snowfall across Kashmir Valley.

'The minimum temperature was 1.6 degrees Celsius in Srinagar Thursday while it was 5.2 degrees in winter capital Jammu. The Srinagar minimum is four degrees above normal while the Jammu minimum is three degrees below normal today,' assistant meteorologist A.R. Zargar said.

Jammu recorded a minimum temperature above the freezing point for the first time in the last 25 days.

'In Leh town, it was minus 20.4 degrees while in Kargil it was minus 15.4 degrees Celsius,' Zargar said.

In Gulmarg ski resort, the minimum temperature was minus 8.4 degrees, and in Pahalgam hill station minus 3.2 degrees, the weather office said.

The situation was better in Punjab, where residents of Chandigarh and surrounding areas enjoyed pleasant sunshine after braving intense cold for the last few days.

Chandigarh recorded a low of 5.2 degrees Celsius.

However, the sun played hide and seek in various parts of Punjab and Haryana. Met officials have predicted a rise in daytime mercury levels in the coming days.