Cold conditions prevailed in north India today with dense fog covering parts of Punjab and Haryana, and Kashmir reeling under sub-zero temperatures even as a medium danger avalanche warning was issued for some districts in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
It was a cold and windy day in Delhi as the maximum temperature for the first 14 days of December was the lowest today in the last six years.
The maximum was at 19.1 degrees Celsius, four notches below the season's average, a Meteorological (MeT) official said.
Shallow foggy conditions were witnessed this morning as visibility dropped to poor levels at several places. The minimum settled at 11.2 degrees Celsius, three notches above the normal.
In a major respite for residents in Kashmir, authorities today opened the Sringar-Jammu National Highway restoring the surface link between the valley and the rest of the country after two days.
One-way traffic has been allowed on the 300-km highway, the only all-weather road connecting the valley to the rest of the country, officials in Srinagar said.
The road was closed due to snowfall and landslides at several places, shooting stones at Panthyal and accumulation of snow at the Qazigund-Jawahar and Banihal-Jawahar tunnel sectors.
Night temperature across the Kashmir division, including the Ladakh region, dipped with Pahalgam and Gulmarg registering their coldest nights of the season, the MeT department said.
The ski resort of Gulmarg recorded minus 9.8 degrees Celsius while Pahalgam, one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra, minus 6.5 degrees Celsius. The temperature at Leh was minus 8.5 degrees Celsius and at Kargil minus 8 degrees Celsius.
Srinagar recorded a low of minus 1.5 degrees Celsius down from the previous night's minus 0.7 degrees Celsius. The MeT has forecast light rain or snowfall at isolated places in the state over the next 24 hours.
In Himachal Pradesh, biting cold wave conditions swept the hills as minimum temperatures dropped in the state due to snowfall and rains.
Keylong, Kalpa and Manali recorded minus 6.3 degrees Celsius, minus 3 degrees Celsius and zero degrees Celsius respectively.
Snowfall occurred at Keylong and Bharmaur. The areas received 10 cm and 6 cm of snow respectively. Naina Devi saw 16 mm of rains, followed by 10 mm in Sarkaghat and Baldwara; and 7 mm in Baijnath, Dharamshala and Jogindernagar.
The MeT department has predicted dry weather in the region over next six days till December 20.
In Punjab and Haryana, foggy weather conditions prevailed even as minimum temperatures hovered around normal levels in both the states with Narnaul recording a low of 6.3 degrees Celsius.
Traffic on several roads was affected due to fog that enveloped many places, including parts of Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Hisar and Ambala.
The temperature in Chandigarh settled at 12.6 degrees Celsius, five notches above the normal.
However, Haryana reeled under cold weather conditions with Ambala, Hisar and Karnal recording 10.9 degrees Celsius, 7.7 degrees Celsius and 9.8 degrees Celsius respectively, the MeT department said.
Rohtak's minimum was 9.7 degrees Celsius.
In Punjab, Amritsar recorded a minimum of 9.4 degrees Celsius, Patiala and Ludhiana 9.3 and 10 degrees Celsius respectively.
In Uttar Pradesh, too, shallow to moderate fog occurred at isolated places in the state, with Meerut recording the 9.2 degrees Celsius.
People in Rajasthan, however, had some respite from cold weather conditions due to a slight increase in the minimum temperatures across the state.
Dense fog engulfed Jaipur, Churu, Sriganganagar, Bikaner, Hanumangarh, Jhunjhunu, Bharatpur, Karauli and Dholpur.
The desert state's hill station Mount Abu was the coldest at 2 degrees Celsius while Sikar recorded 4.5 degrees Celsius, Alwar 6.2 degrees Celsius, Pilani 7.5 degrees Celsius, Bhilwara 8 degrees Celsius and Jaisalmer 8.2 degrees Celsius.
The MeT department has forecast fog in northern regions of Rajasthan in the next 24 hours.
Issuing a medium danger avalanche warning for some avalanche prone districts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) said it was valid for the next 24 hours starting at 5 pm today.
The warning exists for Ganderbal, Bandipore and Kargil districts of Jammu and Kashmir, and for Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul and Spiti, SASE said.