Cold continues to sweep northern India

New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) Cold conditions persisted in northern India as rains soaked several areas in the region and snowfall was recorded in Kashmir and Ladakh.

Widespread rains in the national capital brought the maximum temperature down, the weather department said,adding that the city recorded a high of 16.4 degrees Celsius, which was three notches below normal, after rains in the afternoon.

The minimum temperature increased to 9.5 degrees Celsius from 6.4 degrees on Wednesday due to a cloud cover. It was two notches above normal, the India Metereological Department said.

The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides official figures for the city, recorded 4 mm rainfall. The weather stations at Lodi Road, Ridge, Ayanagar and Palam recorded 6.4 mm, 2.8 mm, 1.7 mm and 0.8 mm precipitation.

However, pollution levels in the national capital increased slightly despite rains. The overall air quality index stood at 281 at 4 pm, up from 218 on Wednesday. An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'.

Moderate to dense fog is expected in the national capital on Friday.

The maximum and minimum temperatures will hover around 17 and 8 degrees Celsius respectively, the weather office said.

Most parts of the Kashmir valley received snowfall overnight. Low visibility and accumulation of snow at the Srinagar airport led to cancellation of 15 flights on Thursday morning, officials said.

Flight operations have been affected at the airport for the past few days. All flights were cancelled on January 12 and 13, but few operated on January 14. However, flight operations did not take place on Wednesday as well due to continued snowfall.

Most plain areas in the valley received moderate to heavy snowfall on Wednesday which continued during the night, a MET official said.

He said the higher reaches of the valley, Jammu region and Ladakh Union Territory received heavy snowfall.

He said there are chances of light snowfall at isolated to scattered places of J-K over the next 24 hours.

'No major snowfall is expected for the next five days. Another spell of lesser intensity is likely from January 21 to 24,' he added.

Cold weather persisted in most parts of Punjab and Haryana and a thick blanket of fog reduced visibility in the morning, affecting normal life.

In Punjab, Amritsar was the coldest place with a minimum temperature of 3.4 degrees Celsius.

Ludhiana shivered at 7.1 degrees Celsius, Patiala at 7.6 degrees, Adampur recorded 6.9 degrees Celsius, Halwara 4.7 degrees, Bathinda 5.4 degrees, Faridkot six degrees and Gurdaspur at 7.3 degrees Celsius also registered below normal minimum temperature, a MeT Department official said.

In Haryana, Ambala recorded a minimum of 6.9 degrees Celsius, Hisar 5.5 degrees, Karnal 8 degrees, Narnaul 7.5 degrees, Rohtak 8 degrees, Bhiwani 6.1 degrees and Sirsa 4.4 degrees Celsius.

Chandigarh registered a night temperature of 7.6 degrees Celsius.

Several places in western Uttar Pradesh and a few places in eastern parts of the state witnessed light to moderate rain.

According to MeT Department, isolated places in eastern parts of the state witnessed a very dense fog and cold conditions prevailed in isolated places of western UP.

Rainfall was recorded in Barabanki, Kanpur, Lucknow, Unnao, Gonda, Hardoi, Etawah, Jalaun, Jhansi, Bijnor, Hapur, Mainpuri, Aurraiya, Sitapur, Fatehgarh, Baharich, Bulandshahr, Firozabad and Hamirpur.

A dense fog is very likely at isolated places of western Uttar Pradesh on Friday, while rain or thundershowers are very likely at isolated places over the state on Saturday, the MeT department said.

The weather is most likely to remain dry and a shallow to moderate fog is very likely at a few places over the state on Sunday, it added.

Meanwhile, in view of the prevailing cold weather conditions, classes from pre-primary to eighth standard in all the schools of state capital Lucknow have been called of, the district administration said.

It also informed that Classes 9 to 12 will function from 10 am to 3 pm. PTI TEAM AAR AAR