N India in grip of cold, J&K’s harshest winter period begins

NEW DELHI: North India was in the grip of intense cold with 40 days of harshest winter period ‘Chillai-Kalan’ beginning in Jammu and Kashmir today.

Cold conditions intensified in the national capital as the maximum temperature was recorded at 15 degrees Celsius, seven notches below normal.

The minimum temperature settled two notches below the season’s average at 6.4 degrees Celsius. Moisture in the air led to moderate foggy conditions in several parts of the city.

Chillai-Kalan, which begins with Winter Solstice, began with minimum temperatures rising by several degrees in Kashmir even though they continued to remain below freezing point.

The minimum temperature rose by over two degrees in Srinagar as the city recorded a low of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, compared to the previous night’s minus 4.4 degrees.

The start of Chillai-Kalan has increased the chances of first snowfall of the season in Kashmir Valley which has seen dry weather so far.

In Himachal Pradesh, bitting cold conditions continued unabated even as the State witnessed a clear day.

Mercury in tribal areas and higher hills stayed 15 to 20 degrees below freezing point while Keylong, Manali and Kalpa recorded a low of minus 7 degrees C, minus 3 degrees C and minus 1.6 degrees C respectively.

All lakes and other natural sources of water like springs, rivulets and tributaries of major rivers remained frozen in high altitude areas, causing sharp reduction in discharge of water in snow-fed Sutlej, Beas and Ravi rivers.

Meanwhile, authorities have managed to partially restore water supply in Kullu and Manali areas even as power supply remain erratic.

The Border Roads Organisation also opened the Manali-Keylong National Highway at Rohtang Pass even as efforts continue to clear roads in the interior areas of Kullu.

About 150 labourers stranded in under-construction Rohtang Tunnel were rescued and airlifted to Bhuntar. The work at the tunnel has been suspended for the winters.

In Rajasthan, normal life and train services continued to remain hit due to cold conditions, even as people in Churu experienced the coldest night of the winter season so far with the mercury nearing freezing point at 0.5 degrees Celsius.

Mercury again dipped by one to five degrees following northerly cold winds in most parts of the state.

A thick blanket of fog disrupted normal life in Punjab and Haryana as well as air, rail, and road traffic remained adversely affected with temperatures plummeting to below normal limits in the entire region.

The morning flights from Chandigarh Airport were cancelled while several trains criss-crossing the region ran hours behind schedule.

The minimum temperatures in the State hovered between one to five degrees Celsius below normal in the region as chilling conditions confined people indoors. Narnaul was the coldest place with a low of 1.6 degrees, four notches below normal.

Meanwhile, cold and foggy conditions continued to prevail in Uttar Pradesh with Nazibabad recording the lowest minimum temperature of the state at 1.5 degree Celsius. (PTI)


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