Mercury down a touch with unseasonal rains in north; snowfall in Himachal

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) Large swathes of northern plains received unseasonal rains on Wednesday, while parts of Himachal Pradesh recorded heavy snowfall, bringing the temperatures down across the region.

The national capital and areas surrounding it received widespread intermittent rains, causing traffic snarls at multiple intersections. 'The minimum temperature was recorded at 9.3 degrees Celsius,' a MeT official said.

The Safdarjung observatory received 6 mm rainfall, Palam observatory recorded 5.3 mm while the the Ridge area received 6.8 mm rainfall. The rainfall recorded at Lodhi Road and Aya Nagar observatories was 10 mm and 5.6 mm respectively.

The weatherman has predicted heavy downpour throughout the day with possibility of hailstorm in isolated areas.

Most of the high and middle hills of Himachal Pradesh, including tourist hotspots Shimla, Manali, Kufri and Dalhousie, received fresh snowfall.

Even as the snowfall brought cheer among tourists, around 150 roads were blocked in the entire state. Keylong remained the coldest place at minus 5.6 degrees Celsius. According to the Meteorological Department, Shima received 20 cm snowfall between 5.30 pm on Tuesday and 8.30 am on Wednesday.

Dalhousie in Chamba district received 35 cm snowfall, followed by Manali in Kullu district (22 cm), Kalpa in Kinnaur district (16 cm) and Lahaul-Spiti's administrative centre Keylong (8 cm), the department said Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.4 degrees Celsius last night, almost same as previous night, an official of the MET department said. The official said the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded the low of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius last night, 1.6 notches down from Tuesday.

The night temperature at Pahalgam resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius – nearly two notches up from minus 3.9 degrees Celsius Tuesday, he said. The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was opened for stranded vehicles on Wednesday afternoon after remaining closed for the past two days due to heavy snowfall and multiple landslides in Ramban district.

However, the chopper services to and fro Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district remained suspended for the second day due to 'poor visibility', they said.

Cold wave conditions persisted in Rajasthan as parts of the state received rainfall in past 24 hours, a Meteorological department official said on Wednesday.

Swai Madhopur recorded 2 mm rainfall whereas Sriganganagar and Pilani recorded 0.7 mm and 0.6 mm rainfall respectively.

As per Met department, Jaisalmer was the coldest place in the state with minimum temperature at 7.3 degrees Celsius followed by 7.9 degrees Celsius in Sriganganagar, 9.4 degrees Celsius in Eranpura Road, 10.2 degrees Celsius each in Bikaner and Churu and 10.7 degrees Celsius in Barmer.

Several parts of Uttar Pradesh received showers since morning, bringing the mercury down, even as shallow to moderate fog was reported from some places in the state.

Chief amount of rainfall recorded in CMs are:- Akbarpur, Safipur, Kanpur, Baghpat, Meerut, Kairana, Budhana and Muzaffarnagar -1 cm each.

Fatehgarh was the coldest place in the state where mercury settles at 7.5 degrees Celsius.

Rains lashed several parts of Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday even as the minimum temperature settled above normal in most places in the region. Most places in both states have been witnessing rains for the past two days.

In Punjab, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala recorded their respective minimums at 7, 10.1 and 11.5 degrees Celsius, up to five degrees above normal, an official of the Meteorological Department said on Wednesday.

The minimum temperatures at Pathankot, Adampur, Halwara, Bathinda, Faridkot and Gurdaspur were recorded at 9.4, 10.1, 10.2, 9.3, 8.8 and 8.6 degrees Celsius respectively.

In Haryana, Ambala, Hisar and Karnal recorded their respective minimums at 9.8, 11.2 and 11.4 degrees Celsius, up to five degrees above normal. Cold wave conditions continued in Odisha on Tuesday with Daringibadi in Kandhamal district remaining to be the coldest place in the state recording a minimum temperature of 7 degrees Celsius.

With the Meteorological Centre in Bhubaneswar forecasting rainfall in several areas of Odisha over the next three days, the state government on Wednesday asked the district collectors to take immediate steps to save harvested paddy.

Light to moderate rain or thundershower is likely to occur at some places in Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Nuapada, Bolangir, Sonepur, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Angul, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts till Thursday, the MeT Centre said in a bulletin.

Also, some areas of interior and coastal Odisha are likely to be lashed by light to moderate rain or thundershower on Thursday and Friday.

The Himalayan town of Kalimpong was the coldest place in West Bengal on Wednesday with a minimum of 3 degree Celsius.

The weatherman predicted light to moderate rain in most districts of the state till Friday morning owing to a cyclonic circulation over northwest Madhya Pradesh.

There is likely to be a rise in night temperature by 1 to 2 degree Celsius during the next two days and fall by 3 to 5 degree Celsius thereafter in West Bengal, the Met said. PTI TEAM TIR TIR