Fresh snowfall in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh; rains across states in north India

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New Delhi, Jan 3 (PTI) Fresh snowfall occurred in Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, where road and air links were snapped with the rest of the country, while rains lashed across states in north India, which the IMD predicted is likely to witness an intense wet spell till Tuesday.

While the traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was suspended following the snowfall, which also disrupted the air traffic to and fro Srinagar airport, the Meteorological Department predicted heavy rain and snowfall in Himachal Pradesh, which also received light showers. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said north India is likely to witness an intense wet spell till Tuesday, with a fairly widespread precipitation accompanied with thunderstorm, lightning and hailstorm at isolated places, .

The activities will peak on Sunday and Monday over the plains (Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, west Uttar Pradesh and north Rajasthan) and on Monday over the western Himalayan region (Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), it added.

After the wet spell, fresh northerly-northwesterly winds are likely to set in over the plains of northwest India, causing 'cold wave to severe cold wave conditions' at isolated places in Punjab, Haryana and north Rajasthan from January 7 onwards, the IMD said.

On Sunday, heavy rains lashed Delhi where the minimum temperature settled at 9.9 degrees Celsius, while the maximum settled at 15.8 degrees Celsius.

The Safdarjung observatory, which provides official figures for the city, recorded 14.8 mm rainfall at 5.30 pm, while the Palam weather station recorded 5.3 mm and Lodhi Road recorded 18.6 mm rainfall.

Heavy rain also led to waterlogging in many parts of the national capital.

Further north, a blanket of snow covered Kashmir as most areas received moderate snowfall, cutting the valley's surface as well as air connection with the rest of the country.

The snowfall started during the night at most places and early in the morning at few places.

Srinagar received about three to four inches of fresh snowfall, while Qazigund – the gateway town to the valley in south Kashmir recorded around nine inches of snowfall.

The areas around Jawahar Tunnel on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway recorded about ten inches of snowfall, leading to suspension of traffic.

The snowfall also disrupted the air traffic with no flight operations taking place at the airport due to accumulation of snow on the runway.

The minimum temperature improved across the valley due to the snowfall but still stayed below the freezing point.

Srinagar city -- the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir -- recorded a low of minus 1.5 degrees Celsius -- up from the previous night's minus 5.9 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, the higher reaches in Himachal Pradesh received fresh snowfall, whereas some other parts witnessed light rain even as the meteorological department issued warning for heavy rain and snowfall in the state.

It predicted rain in the plains and lower hills till January 5 and rain, and snowfall in middle and higher hills of the state till January 6. The Met centre issued a 'yellow' weather warning of heavy rain, snowfall in middle and higher hills on January 4 and thunderstorm and lightning in the plains and lower hills from January 4 to 5.

Further, it issued 'orange' warning of heavy rain and snowfall in middle and higher hills on January 5.

The Met centre issues colour-coded warnings to alert the public ahead of severe or hazardous weather which has the potential to cause 'damage, widespread disruption and/or danger to life'.

Manali witnessed 11 mm rain, followed by Keylong 9 mm, Bilaspur 8 mm, Dharamshala 7 mm, Chamba 6 mm, Palampur and Kasauli 5 mm each and Shimla and Solan 3mm each.

Besides, the tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti's administrative centre Keylong continued to be the coldest place in the state at minus 6.1 degrees Celsius.

The state police also rescued over 300 tourists stranded near the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang after fresh snowfall. Cold conditions prevailed in most parts of Rajasthan which also received rains, with Mount Abu, the state's only hill station, recording a low of zero degree Celsius.

Eranpura Road recorded a minimum temperature of 4.8 degrees Celsius followed by 6.2 degrees Celsius in Phalodi, 6.4 degrees Celsius in Jaisalmer, 7 degrees Celsius in Bikaner, 7.3 degrees Celsius in Sriganganagar, 9.3 degrees Celsius in Barmer, 9.5 degrees Celsius in Dabok and 13.5 degrees Celsius in Jaipur. The minimum temperature rose in most parts of Punjab and Haryana following rains in both the states, as Chandigarh recorded its minimum at 11.4 degrees Celsius, six degrees above normal.

Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala recorded their respective lows at 11.3, 11.1 and 11 degrees Celsius, up to eight degrees above normal.

In Haryana, Ambala, Hisar and Karnal recorded their respective minimums at 9.4, 7.2 and 10 degrees Celsius, up to three notches above normal.

A few places, including Hisar, Rohtak, Bhiwani and Ludhiana also witnessed fog.

Rain and thundershowers also occurred at a few places in western Uttar Pradesh while Banda was the coldest place in the state where the mercury dipped to 5.4 degrees Celsius.

Very light rains also occurred in parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, with the meteorological department predicting thunderstorm in some places of western UP on Monday. PTI TEAM TDS TDS