Rains Bring Respite From the Piercing Cold Wave in North India

New Delhi:  There was some respite from the biting cold wave conditions in vast swathes of north India as mild rain and heavily overcast skies pushed up minimum temperatures by several degrees, even as parts of Himachal Pradesh shivered following a fresh spell of snowfall.

In the national capital, the minimum temperature rose by seven degrees, settling above the season's average at 13.8 degrees Celsius and reducing the gap with the maximum temperature to three degrees, resulting in a considerably warmer day for Delhiites.

The maximum temperature in Delhi settled four notches below the normal at 16.8 degrees Celsius. Foggy conditions prevailed in several parts of the city.

According to a Northern Railway official, 41 trains coming to the capital were running late, four were rescheduled and Purba Express was cancelled. However, flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport were smooth.

Similar weather conditions prevailed in Punjab and Haryana, where the gap between minimum and maximum temperatures reduced in several parts following rains.

The Union territory of Chandigarh recorded a minimum of 12 degrees Celsius, seven notches above normal, while the maximum settled at 15.7 degrees, five points below normal.

In Haryana, Ambala received rainfall of 11.5 mm while it recorded a low at 11.8 degrees Celsius, up by six notches. The maximum stood at 15.1 degrees.

In Punjab, Amritsar registered the lowest minimum in the region at 4.8 degrees Celsius. Ludhiana and Patiala received rains of 2.6 and 2.2 mm while the minimum temperatures were recorded at 11.9 and 12.7 degrees Celsius, respectively.

In Rajasthan too, minimum temperatures increased by a few notches in various parts with Sriganganganagar recording the state's lowest temperature at 7 degrees Celsius.

In state capital Jaipur, the mercury settled at 13.2 degrees Celsius, which was 5 degrees above normal.

Minimum temperatures were recorded 2-8 degrees Celsius above normal in the state. Churu, Kota, Jaipur and Ajmer recorded 1.4, 1.3, 0.5 and 0.3 mm of rain till Saturday morning, according to MeT officials.

Meanwhile, high altitude tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh had another spell of moderate snowfall while the mid and lower hills experienced widespread rains, causing sharp fall in day temperatures. Strong velocity icy winds swept the region while thick fog engulfed the region, reducing visibility to a few metres and hampering vehicular traffic.

Tribal Lahaul and Pangi valleys were cut off due to heavy snow at Rohtang Pass which was closed for vehicular traffic.

Manali was the wettest in the region with 34 mm of rains followed by Kasauli 18 mm, Shimla 12 mm, and Dharamsala, Bhuntar and Jogindernagar 11 mm each.

Day temperatures dropped by five to eight degrees Celsius to settle at 15.8 in Una and 13.2 in Dharamsala, followed by Solan 12.8 degree, Bhuntar 11.6, Sundernagar 11.2, Shimla 8.0, Manali 4.2, and Kalpa 0.4 degree Celsius.

Minimum temperatures, however, increased by two to three degrees and Keylong recorded a low of minus 7.6 degrees, followed by Kalpa minus 1.2, Manali minus 1.0, Dalhousie 2.8, Shimla 3.2, Nahan 4.1, Dharamsala 4.4, Solan 5.5, Mandi 9, and Bilaspur 9.9 degrees Celsius.

The high altitude tribal area groaned under biting cold wave conditions with mercury staying 12 to 20 degrees below freezing point.

There was, however, some respite from the intense cold wave for the residents of the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region as night temperatures appreciated by around three degrees at most places.

The temperature in Srinagar increased by over three degrees from the previous night's low of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius, to settle at minus 2.0 degrees. Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley in south, recorded a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius compared to minus 5.2 degrees Celsius the previous night.

Pahalgam in south Kashmir registered an increase of over four degrees from minus 7.6 degrees Celsius the previous night to settle at minus 3.0 degrees Celsius. The minimum in the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg settled at minus 3.0 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night's minus 4.8 degrees.

The minimum temperature in Leh increased by over three degrees to settle at minus 13.6 degrees Celsius compared to the previous night's low of minus 17.1 degrees Celsius.

Kargil, also in Ladakh region, registered the season's low of minus 16.4 degrees Celsius and was the coldest recorded place in the state.

The Valley is currently under the grip of 'Chillai Kalan' - the 40-day harshest winter period, which begins on December 21. The chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent during this period.

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