New Delhi: Intense cold claimed 22 lives in North India on Friday as temperatures plummeted to sub-zero levels at many places in the region.
The capital city recorded the season's lowest minimum of 2.7 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature recorded in the city was 15.7 degrees Celsius.
Seven people were killed due to the cold in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh where the mercury dipped three notches below normal in most places.
While five persons lost their lives in Bathinda district of Punjab due to the cold wave, two were killed in Fatehabad district of Haryana in the past 24 hours.
Chandigarh with a low of 3.4 degrees Celsius recorded the lowest minimum temperature in the ongoing winter season, the MeT office said in New Delhi.
Intense cold tightened its grip across Kashmir Valley as minimum temperatures plunged further with summer capital Srinagar witnessing the coldest night of the season at minus 4.3 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature recorded in Srinagar was down from minus 4.0 degrees Celsius recorded on Thursday, making it the coldest night of the season so far.
Kargil, in the frontier region of Ladakh, was the coldest recorded place in the state with a low of minus 16.2 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Leh town recorded a low of minus 14.2 degree Celsius, up from Thursday's minus 16.0 degrees Celsius.
The famous skiing resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir, shivered at a minimum temperature of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius, 1.2 degrees down from Thursday's 9 degree Celsius.
Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir, which also serves as the base camp during the annual Amarnath yatra recorded a low of minus 7.0 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature recorded at Kokernag in south Kashmir was minus 5.4 degrees Celsius, followed by Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, at minus 5.0 degrees Celsius and Kupwara in north Kashmir at minus 4.0 degree Celsius.
The MET Department has said the weather is likely to remain dry with clear night skies in the Valley for a few more days, which is likely to bring down the night temperatures by a few more points.
Two persons, including a police constable, died in New Delhi due to the severe cold wave conditions prevailing in Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh.
Cold wave continued unabated in Uttar Pradesh as 13 more people succumbed to the chill in the state, taking the death toll this winter to 129.
Three people each died in Ballia, Lalitpur and Sonebhadra districts, followed by one each in Barabanki, Mirzapur, Kushinagar and Hathras, officials said.
Met office sources said that the maximum temperatures recorded were below normal by 5 to 10 degree Celsius over many parts of the state.
Night temperatures fell markedly in Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Allahabad divisions and fell in Kanpur, Lucknow divisions. Lowest temperature of 1.4 degree Celsius was recorded at Kanpur followed by Muzaffarnagar 1.6 deg , Najibabad (Bijnore) 1.6 deg, Agra and Lucknow 2.1 deg and Kheri 2.6 deg C.
Biting cold has thrown normal life out of gear in parts of Rajasthan where mercury settled at zero degrees Celsius in Mount Abu.
Churu and SriGanganagar recorded minimum of 1.9 and 2.6 degree Celsius respectively, while Chittorgarh and Dabok shivered at 3 and 3.8 degree Celsius respectively, according to the MeT Department in New Delhi.