Cold wave grips North India: Frosty Christmas for Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir as temperature dips below 6°

  • The cold wave, which has been brought on by a significant reduction in minimum temperatures, is expected to intensify as the north-westerlies winds will continue to affect the plains for the next three to four days

  • Srinagar recorded the coldest night of the season so far on Thursday, as the mercury continued its downward spiral across the Kashmir Valley

  • The IMD said that severe cold conditions were observed in most pockets of different states and union territories

Several states in North India experienced a chilly Christmas as the cold wave persisted in Punjab, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh, among others. On Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures dipped below five degrees in some states, while the National Capital is facing the longest cold spell in December since 1997.

The National Capital is also set to experience the the second-coldest December since 1901. "The mean maximum temperature for December was less than 20°Celsius only in 1919, 1929, 1961 and 1997," an official of the India Meteorological Department said.

In December this year, the mean maximum temperature (MMT) till Thursday was 19.85 degrees Celsius. It is expected to dip to 19.15°Celsius by 31 December.

The cold wave, which has been brought on by a significant reduction in minimum temperatures, is expected to intensify as the north westerlies winds will continue to affect the plains for the next three to four days. Skymet Weather reported that no relief is likely till 30 December.

The report said that due cyclonic conditions over the northern plains after 31 December are likely to obstruct the cold winds from the Himalayas and result in a fall in the temperature.

"Cold day conditions are very likely to prevail over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar during next 5 days," IMD said in its weather forecast bulletin on Wednesday.

The weather forecast agency also said that severe cold conditions were observed in most pockets of different states and union territories.

Additionally, thunderstorm accompanied with lightning is very likely at isolated places over eastern Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamilnadu, Puducherry, and Karaikal on Friday.

 Cold wave grips North India: Frosty Christmas for Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir as temperature dips below 6°

People warm themselves around a bonfire on a cold morning in Delhi. PTI

Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar recorded the coldest night of the season so far on Thursday, as the mercury continued its downward spiral across the Kashmir Valley. The India Meteorological Department said that minimum temperature across Kashmir and Ladakh remained several degrees below the freezing point because of a clear sky.

An IMD official was quoted by PTI as saying that Wednesday night was the coldest in Srinagar as the minimum temperature settled at minus 5°Celsius — 0.7° lower from -4.3°Celsius recorded on Tuesday night, leading to freezing of water supply lines at several places.

The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of -11.2°Celsius on Wednesday, two degrees lower than Tuesday's -9°Celsius, he said. The night temperature at Pahalgam resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir, settled at a low of -12.7°Celsius as against -11.4°Celsius on Wednesday.

Pahalgam, in south Kashmir's Anantnag district, was the coldest recorded place in the valley.

Kokernag town, also in south Kashmir, recorded a low of -6.9°Celsius, while Kupwara, in the north, registered a minimum temperature of -5.6°Celsius. IMD also said that Leh, in Ladakh union territory, recorded a low of -18°Celsius.

On Thursday, the Drass belt in the Kargil district became the coldest place in the twin Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, recording a minimum temperature of -30.2°Celsius.

The IMD has forecast mainly dry weather for the week ahead in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan', which is the 40-day period of the harshest winter when the chances of snowfall are high and the temperature drops considerably.

'Chillai-Kalan' began on 21 December and will end on 31 January, but the cold wave continues in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).

Delhi

The minimum temperature in Delhi was recorded at 6°Celsius on Wednesday, while the maximum temperature settled at 12.7°Celsius, nine notches below normal, the IMD said. A cold wave is likely to hit the National Capital also, as temperature is expected to drop to 4°Celsius over the weekend.

Since 16 December, Delhi has registered nine cold days, equal to that recorded in 2003, PTI reported. The city recorded the maximum of 17 cold days in December 1997.

According to Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the India Meteorological Department's regional forecasting centre, a "cold day" is when the maximum temperature is at least 4.5 notches below the normal. A "severe cold day" is when the maximum temperature is at least 6.5°Celsius below the normal.

Meanwhile, a moderate wind speed led to a slight improvement in the air quality on Wednesday. The overall air quality index was recorded at 350 at 4 pm, down from 383 on Tuesday.

The government's air quality monitoring and forecasting service, SAFAR, said that an extended period of calm surface winds with high humidity is predicted Friday onwards, which will have an adverse affect on the air quality.

In Delhi, homeless people have taken refuge in night shelters, ANI reported.

Rajasthan

The cold wave intensified its grip in parts of Rajasthan on Thursday with the night temperature dipping one to five degrees Celsius at many places across the state. Fatehpur in the Sikar district recorded a night temperature of -3°Celsius, which is this season's lowest so far.

Severe cold conditions with ground frost and dense fog threw normal life out of gear in the Shekhawati area, comprising Churu, Sikar, and Jhununu districts and nearby areas. According to the meteorological department, Sikar recorded the night temperature at 0°Celsius while it was 0.5°Celsius in Pilani.

Mount Abu, the hill station, recorded 1°Celsius while Churu, Vanasthali, Bikaner, Ganganagar and Ajmer recorded night temperatures at 1.3°, 3.2°, 3.7°, 3.9° and 5.5°Celsius respectively.

The minimum temperatures in Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Dabok and Barmer were 5.6°, 5.8°, 6.4°, and 7.2°Celsius respectively. The India Meteorological Department has predicted similar weather conditions for Friday and Saturday.

Haryana and Punjab

Most parts of Haryana also experienced the cold wave, with Narnaul freezing in a minimum temperature of 3.2°Celsius on Wednesday. On Thursday, schools in the state remained closed in view of the intense cold, the government said in a statement.

State education minister Kanwar Pal announced that 26 December will be a holiday in all government and private schools. He also directed authorities to ensure strict compliance of instructions.

In Haryana, day temperatures have been hovering between 11 and 15°Celsius at most places, six to nine notches below the normal.  The minimum has been in the range between 3°Celsius and 7°Celsius, which is three to four notches below normal.

Hisar in Haryana also recorded a below normal minimum temperature at 4.1°Celsius. Biting cold also continued in several other parts of Haryana including Karnal (6°Celsius), Rohtak (5°Celsius), Bhiwani (5.7°Celsius), Sirsa (6.1°Celsius) and Ambala (5.5°Celsius).

Faridkot in Punjab was the coldest place recording a low of 4.6°Celsius. Ludhiana (5.5°Celsius), Patiala (5.8°Celsius), Bathinda (5.9°Celsius), Halwara (5.8°Celsius), Adampur (7.2°Celsius) and Amritsar (6.5°Celsius) too experienced a cold night.

Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, recorded a low of 6.9°Celsius.

The IMD said that most parts of Haryana and Punjab were engulfed by a thick blanket of fog on Thursday morning.

The day-temperatures too have been hovering six to nine notches below normal limits at most places including Chandigarh for the past week and are settling in the range of 11 to 14°Celsius.

"It is extremely cold here these days as both maximum and minimum temperatures have fallen sharply. I have not witnessed such a spell of cold weather in many years. Fog is further worsening the situation," said Baldev Singh, an elderly resident, told PTI.

Uttar Pradesh

All government and private schools up to class 12 have been directed to remain closed for Friday and Saturday in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Aligarh, Moradabad, Bulandshahr, Baghpat, and Sitapur due to the severe cold wave in the region.

ANI reported that in Gorakhpur, due to the cold wave, construction workers and carpenters were not getting any work and were sitting idle for the past couple of days.

"It has been four days, I have not got any work due to the severe cold. I am a carpenter. Nobody is coming out of their houses these days. I am completely weighed down," said Mahesh, a carpenter based in Gorakhpur.

"My children are hungry. I have not got any work for the past seven days. It is very cold here. The government has so far not provided any relief to us," said another daily wage labourer.

In Kanpur, the idols in shrines were covered with warm clothes, ANI reported. Additionally, heaters were installed in temple premises.

Mohan Bhagel, a resident of Agra, said, "It is getting difficult for us to move about outdoors with each passing day as the mercury is going down. The people with two-wheelers are facing the brunt of the cold weather."

According to the India Meteorological Department, 'cold' to 'severe cold' day conditions are very likely in many pockets over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Bone-chilling cold winds have affected isolated places in Bihar, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, and Sikkim.

"Dense to very dense fog is very likely in many pockets over East Uttar Pradesh; in some pockets over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi," the IMD stated in its All India Weather Warning Bulletin on Wednesday.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 26, 2019 23:45:42 IST