12 die in UP, Bhopal sees frost as winter onslaught continues (Roundup)

January 5th, 2011 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) At least 12 more people dead in Uttar Pradesh, frost in the city of Bhopal, fog disrupting air, road and rail traffic in Chandigarh — the winter continued its freezing onslaught on northern and central India Wednesday.The winter death toll in Uttar Pradesh shot up to 48 Wednesday after officials reported 12 more fatalities — seven in Pratapgarh, three in Barabanki and one each in Jaunpur and Deoria districts.

Bhopal, the Madhya Pradesh capital, passed through its coldest day in 60 years at 2.3 degrees Celsius - second only to the city’s lowest ever of 0.6 degrees marked Jan 18, 1935. People in several areas of Kolar in Bhopal and in Baitul district were surprised to see morning frost on leaves.

Dense fog caused major disruptions in air, road and rail traffic in Chandigarh. The airport remained cut-off during the day and no flights operated in or out of the city.

From the plains to the hills, the poor and the homeless were seen huddling around bonfires long before nightfall in an attempt to ward off the unbearable cold.

Street vendors in most cities called it an early day for want of customers.

The cold wave saw many cities in the plains competing with the Himalayan hill towns in touching new lows.

Bhopal (2.3 degrees Celsius), Narnaul in Haryana (2.7 degrees) and also the national capital Delhi (4.2 degrees) were colder Wednesday than the Himalayan resort town of Shimla (4.8 degrees) in the minimum temperature department.

Weather forecasts predicted that the present trends would continue for some more days.

All major high-altitude towns in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Himachal Pradesh remained practically deep frozen and covered with snow.

Leh in Ladakh hit a new low of minus 23 degrees Celsius and Kargil marked minus 18 degrees, according to the Met office.

The minimum temperature in Srinagar slipped to minus 5.4 degrees Wednesday with the Dal Lake mostly frozen. Water taps also remained frozen in the morning in most parts of the capital city.

“Cold, dry weather is likely to continue for another 24 hours. This means that the minimum temperatures across the Valley and Ladakh would remain much below freezing point because of radiation during cloudless nights,” an official said.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district remained the coldest town in Himachal Pradesh with a low of minus 13.7 degrees.

The day in Shimla, Bhuntar, Dharamsala, Sundernagar and Solan was comparatively warmer due to sunny conditions. These towns saw the maximum temperature at 12.9 degrees, 18.5 degrees, 18.6 degrees, 20 degrees and 20.5 degrees, respectively.

Chitkul, a village in Kinnaur located at an altitude of 3,450 metres above sea level, continued to remain cut off from the rest of world after experiencing snowfall Dec 29.

A shallow fog greeted Delhi Wednesday morning, which cleared as a chilly wind continued to blow all through the day. The city saw a minimum of 4.2 degrees and a maximum of 13 degrees Celsius.

The Met office has predicted a similar cold Thursday with morning fog.

Uttar Pradesh saw another freezing windy day Wednesday with Churk in Mirzapur remaining the coldest at 2.6 degrees.

Lucknow shivered at a minimum of 4.6 degrees early Wednesday and warmed up to 16.6, even as thick fog and cloud prevailed.

Agra was again bitterly cold, recording a minimum of 3.4 degrees and a maximum of 13.2. Varanasi (4.2 and 14.4) and Allahabad (4.8 and 13.7) also remained very cold.

Punjab and Haryana were again under thick fog Wednesday, which caused traffic snarls on several city roads and highways, officials said.

Cold winds lashed the twin states keeping the mercury below average levels. Chandigarh recorded a minimum of 5 degrees while Amritsar shivered at 3.2 degrees.

Patiala and Ludhiana recorded minimum temperatures of 3.8 and 4.6 degrees, respectively.

The severe cold wave conditions in Rajasthan Wednesday affected normal life and also business in many cities.

The minimum temperature was 3 to 4 degrees below average in most places in Rajasthan, a weather official said Wednesday.

Bikaner was the coldest at 1.2 degrees while Mount Abu recorded a minimum of minus 4 degrees. The Nakki Lake in Mount Abu is nearly frozen.

Hotel authorities in Mount Abu lamented that bookings have gone down in December-January by 15-20 percent compared to the like period last year.

An official said the state government has set up night shelters for Jaipur’s pavement dwellers.

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