New Delhi, Dec 17 (PTI) Delhi recorded a 'cold day' with the lowest maximum temperature of the season as biting cold wave conditions prevailed in the northern belt on Thursday.
The maximum temperature dropped to 15.2 degrees Celsius, seven notches below normal and the lowest so far this season, in the national capital, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
A 'cold day' is when the minimum temperature is less than 10 degrees Celsius and the maximum is 4.4 degrees Celsius below normal.
Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the IMD's regional forecasting centre, said the Western Himalayas recorded widespread snowfall due to strong western disturbances and frosty winds have been blowing towards the plains, causing the mercury to drop.
For the plains, the IMD declares a cold wave when the minimum temperature is 10 degrees Celsius or lower, and 4.5 notches less than normal for two consecutive days.
'However, for small areas such as Delhi, a cold wave can be declared if the criteria are fulfilled even for a day,' Srivastava said.
Cold wave conditions prevailed in Himachal Pradesh with Keylong, Manali and Kalpa recording sub-zero temperatures in the last 24 hours.
The weather remained dry in the hill state, but the minimum temperature decreased by one to two notches, a MeT department official said.
Keylong, administrative centre of the tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti, continued to be the coldest place in the state at minus 8 degrees Celsius, MeT Shimla centre director Manmohan Singh said.
The minimum temperature at famous tourist destination of Manali was recorded at minus 1.2 degrees Celsius. Dalhousie and Kufri recorded a low of 0.4 and 1.4 degrees Celsius, respectively.
The highest temperature in the state was recorded in Solan at 21 degrees Celsius. Cold wave also swept Haryana and Punjab as fog reduced visibility at few places.
Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, recorded a minimum temperature of 5.1 degrees Celsius, MeT officials said.
In Haryana, Ambala, Hisar, Karnal, Bhiwani, Rohtak and Sirsa recorded below normal minimum temperatures of 4.4 degrees Celsius, 4.2 degrees Celsius, 4.9 degrees Celsius, 4.8 degrees Celsius, 4.4 degrees Celsius and 4.8 degrees Celsius, respectively.
Amritsar in Punjab also experienced a cold night at 4.2 degrees Celsius, while Ludhiana registered a low of 5.5 degrees Celsius.
According to the MeT department officials, fog reduced visibility in the morning at some places such as Karnal, Hisar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala.
Very light rain occurred at isolated places in Uttar Pradesh, while Bareilly was the coldest place in the state at 3.3 degrees Celsius. The weather was mainly dry across the state.
The highest temperature in the state was recorded at 24.6 degrees Celsius in Gorakhpur, the MeT department here said.
The weatherman has warned of cold wave to severe cold wave conditions at a few places in West UP and at isolated pockets in East UP.
Icy northerly winds from the Himalayas brought down the mercury in Rajasthan where the night temperature dipped to minus 1 degree Celsius in Mount Abu.
Among plain areas in the desert state, Sikar was recorded as the coldest place at 0.5 degree Celsius, a MeT Department official said.
The official said due to the impact of northerly winds, several areas in north and north-west Rajasthan reeled under a cold wave and the same weather conditions would continue to prevail till December 21.
Churu and Pilani shivered at 2.2 and 2.5 degrees Celsius, respectively, while Ganganagar, Bikaner, Jaislamer, Vanasthali, Alwar, Jodhpur, Kota and Bundi recorded 2.8, 3.1, 5.2, 5.8, 6.6, 7.1, 8.1 and 8.8 degrees Celsius, respectively.
The minimum temperature across Kashmir plummeted several degrees below the freezing point owing to a clear sky as the Valley reeled under cold conditions, with Srinagar experiencing the coldest night of the season so far.
The night temperature continued to drop across the Valley owing to the clear sky and the minimum temperature settled several degrees below the normal for this part of the season, weather officials said.
They said Srinagar - the summer capital of the Union Territory - recorded a low of minus 6.4 degrees Celsius - down from the previous night's minus 4.8 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature was nearly five degrees below the normal for this part of the season.
This was the coldest night of the season so far in the city, resulting in the freezing of several stagnant water bodies, the officials added.
The mercury in Gulmarg, the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 11.0 degrees Celsius - over six degrees below the normal for this time of the season, they said.
The resort was the coldest recorded place in the UT.
The MeT Office said while no major snowfall is expected till the end of this month in the UT, there is a possibility of light to moderate snowfall during December 21-22 at isolated places of Kashmir.
PTI TEAM SRY