Mercury dips across north India, cold wave conditions likely in Delhi over next 4 days

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New Delhi, Dec 22 (PTI) Icy winds swept north India on Tuesday while cold wave conditions are predicted in parts of Delhi over the next four days as the minimum temperature is expected to drop to three to four degrees Celsius.

A blanket of dense fog enveloped isolated places in Uttar Pradesh where a 75-year-old woman died allegedly due to the cold even as chilly weather conditions severely hit normal life in interior Odisha.

In the national capital, moderate to dense fog is expected over the next four days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded a minimum of 5.3 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 23.9 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, the IMD said. The observatory had recorded a minimum of 3.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday, the lowest this season so far. The minimum temperature had increased slightly to 5.5 degrees Celsius on Monday under the influence of a fresh Western Disturbance affecting the upper reaches of the Himalayas.

The maximum temperature settled at 23.5 degrees Celsius, two notches more than normal. “After the WD withdraws on Tuesday, the temperatures are expected to drop again,” Mahesh Palawat, an expert at Skymet Weather, a private forecasting agency, said. Dense fog and severe cold conditions prevailed at isolated places of Uttar Pradesh with Churk in Sonbhadra district being the coldest place in the state recording a low of 3.2 degrees Celsius.

Rukmini, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Banda district, died on Monday due to the extreme cold, her family members claimed.

The meteorological department has forecast cold conditions at isolated parts of Uttar Pradesh over the next few days.

Cold conditions prevailed in Kashmir too as the minimum temperature remained below the freezing point across the valley, even as the Met office said the weather is likely to remain dry and cold till the weekend when a spell of light to moderate snowfall is possible at widespread places.

The weather remained dry across Kashmir on the second day of 'Chillai-Kalan' -- the 40-day harshest winter period when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum, officials said.

They said while the valley continued to reel under sub-zero night temperature, there was slight improvement in the mercury at a few places.

Srinagar — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir — recorded a low of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius – down from the previous night's minus 4 degrees Celsius, they said.

The mercury in Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir also went down from the previous night's low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 5.8 degrees Celsius, the officials said.

'Chillai-Kalan' is considered the harshest winter period in Kashmir as a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley The chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall, the officials said.

Normal life in interior Odisha was severely hit as the mercury plummeted to 4 degrees Celsius at Phulbani in Kandhamal district making it the coldest place in the state.

The weather office has warned continuation of the cold wave to severe cold wave in five districts during the next 24 hours.

The night temperature at 13 places in the state dropped below 10 degree Celsius.

The IMD also suggested that people stay indoors during the night in view of the cold conditions.

Haryana and Punjab saw a slight rise in day temperatures, while Rajasthan recorded a marginal increase in night temperatures.

The day temperatures hovered one to two notches above normal at most places in Haryana and Punjab settling between 21-22 degrees Celsius.

As the minimum temperatures hovered below normal, Hisar in Haryana recorded a low of 3.2 degrees Celsius, four notches below normal limits, the meteorological department here said.

Ambala, Karnal and Narnaul, too, experienced a cold night recording respective lows of 4.9, 4.9 and 4.5 degrees Celsius.

Amritsar in Punjab braved a cold night recording a low of 3.8 degrees Celsius while Ludhiana registered a low of 3.6 degrees Celsius. Patiala's minimum settled at 4 degrees Celsius.

Night temperatures marginally increased in parts of Rajasthan where Churu was the coldest place with a minimum temperature of 4 degrees Celsius.

Sikar, Pilani, Ganganagar, Bhilwara, Dabok and Chittorgarh recorded a minimum of 4.5 degrees Celsius, 4.9 degrees Celsius, 6.1 degrees Celsius, 6.4 degrees Celsius, 6.6 degrees Celsius and 6.9 degree Celsius, respectively.

The minimum temperature in Jaisalmer, Ajmer, Jaipur and Barmer settled at 8.5 degrees Celsius, 10.6 degrees Celsius, 11 degrees Celsius and 13.1 degrees Celsius, respectively, according to the Met department here. PTI TEAM RHL