Foggy mornings, icy weather have north India shivering

January 2nd, 2009 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) A day into the year 2009, northern India shivered as temperatures plummeted. While Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana were blanketed with fog in the morning, the sun shone brightly in some Himachal Pradesh tourist hot spots.Delhiites woke up to the coldest day of the season with the mercury plummeting to four degrees Celsius, which was three degrees below normal. The maximum temperature also fell to 17.9 degrees Celsius, four notches below the normal for this time of the year.

“The north-westerly winds blowing across northern India have brought the present spell of chill and will continue for a day or two more,” said a meteorological department official.

Although a thick layer of fog engulfed the capital before dawn, it cleared around dawn with the sun shining brightly. Dense fog also enveloped Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and large parts of Uttar Pradesh, reducing visibility to a mere 50 metres. As a result, several train and flight services were disrupted.

The morning minimum temperature was five degrees Celsius in Lucknow and 6.2 degrees Celsius in Chandigarh. Amritsar district of Punjab was the coldest region in the north Indian plains with the morning minimum temperature of one degree Celsius. It was even lower than the morning temperature of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh that was recorded at 4.1 degrees Celsius.

“Shimla and nearby areas like Chail, Kufri, Naldhera and Kasauli have been witnessing bright sunny days for the past two weeks,” Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological department in Shimla, told IANS.

However, a biting cold wave swept across Himachal Pradesh’s tribal areas, where the mercury dipped below the freezing point. While the minimum temperature at Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district was minus 9.4 degrees Celsius, it was minus 4.5 degrees Celcsius at Kalpa in Kinnaur district.

The Kashmir Valley also witnessed sub-zero temperatures. The minimum temperature in Srinagar was minus 0.2 degrees celsius while it was minus 3.4 degrees in the town of Pahalgam.

“The present cold spell hitting the valley is expected to ease out with a Western disturbance we are expecting by Saturday evening,” said T.K. Jotshi, assistant director of the Srinagar weather office.

“The Western disturbance also means we will have rain and snowfall at many places in the valley,” he added.

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