A cold wave has gripped several parts of India, with temperatures dipping over the weekend. The cold wave continued to grip Delhi as well as Maharashtra on Sunday, with temperatures in the coastal state dropping significantly, breaking records of at least 10 years. Jammu and Kashmir, however, got some respite from the chill, recording warmer temperatures over the weekend.
According to reports, the northwest, central and eastern parts of the country are likely to continue facing the cold wave on Sunday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that the chill in the air is expected to continue for the next two days.
The weather agency also predicted moderate fog for the next three to four days over the northern plains and the northeastern states of the country.
Temperatures in the national capital plummeted to 2.6 degrees on Saturday morning, the lowest levels this winter. It was also the lowest in the last half a decade — mercury had fallen to 2 degrees on 30 December, 2013, The Economic Times reported.
Saturday's minimum, at 2.6 degrees, was four notches below normal, and the maximum, at 20 degrees Celsius, was a degree below normal, the report said.
Delhi has been reeling under a cold wave for the past few days. On 21 December, the minimum temperature was recorded at 3.4 degrees Celsius. The Indian Express quoted IMD sources as saying that the city is unlikely to be free from the cold wave any time soon.
"Cold waves will continue to prevail on Sunday, as well. The minimum and maximum temperatures are likely to hover around 2 and 21 degrees, respectively, on Sunday," the MeT official said.
The cold wave has even even claimed two lives in the city, The Times of India reported. The police found a man lying on a footpath beside a bus stop at Alipur near Rohini in northwest Delhi on Sunday. They suspect he died of hypothermia. Additionally, a woman's charred body was found near Lady Irwin College on Sikandra Road in Lutyens, and the police suspect she had been sleeping beside a bonfire when her clothes caught fire.
Flight delays and cancellations are common at the Delhi airport during the winter months, when foggy conditions reduce visibility to unsafe levels. Apart from air traffic getting affected, train and road traffic movement are also severely affected every year due to fog.
Road accidents are also frequent in North India during the foggy winter. On Monday morning, eight people had died in a 50-vehicle pileup near Haryana's Jhajjar.
The cold wave also swept over parts of Maharashtra and Vidarbha on Saturday, with as many as five locations in the state, including Pune, breaking a 10-year record of minimum temperatures, The Times of India reported.
A cold wave warning was issued for isolated places in Vidarbha and North Maharashtra on Sunday. There may also be ground frost in the adjoining areas of Nagpur and a few other places in Vidarbha, officials were quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Nagpur was the coldest in the state, recording 3.5 degrees Celsius at night, an almost 9-degree deviation from the norm. It was colder than places like Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Patiala in Punjab and Banihal in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday morning. At 5.9 degrees Celsius, Pune recorded its coldest morning in 18 years on Saturday.
Reports from Mahabaleshwar also indicated ice and ground frost formation around Venna Lake.
Jammu and Kashmir
Residents in Kashmir experienced relief from the intense cold wave conditions on Sunday, as the temperature rose by several degrees across the Valley and the Ladakh region. But the minimum temperature continued to remain below freezing point, an IMD official said.
The temperature at night in the Kashmir division, including Ladakh region, rose by several degrees on Saturday night because of the cloudy skies, providing huge relief to the residents from the intense chill blanketing the region over the past few days, the official added.
Srinagar recorded a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius on Saturday night — an increase of nearly five degrees from minus 7.2 degrees Celsius on Friday night.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of Chillai-Kalan – the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably. It ends on 31 January, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir.
This 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).
The winter this season has been dry so far, though there was a spell of early snowfall in the Valley in the first and second weeks of November. The prolonged dry spell has resulted in an increase in common ailments like cough, cold and other respiratory problems, especially among children and the elderly.
The weatherman has predicted light rain or snowfall at isolated places in the Valley and Ladakh on Sunday and at scattered places across Jammu and Kashmir over three days from Tuesday.
Punjab and Haryana
Hisar in Haryana reeled at 1.6 degrees Celsius as the unrelenting cold wave intensified in the state and neighbouring Punjab on Sunday. Hisar, where the minimum settled five notches below normal, was the coldest place in the two states.
Karnal, too, experienced the chill at 2 degrees Celsius, down three notches, IMD officials said. Narnaul and Rohtak also recorded below normal identical minimum temperatures of 3 degrees each. Ambala and Sirsa, too, registered below normal identical lows at 4.4 degrees Celsius each, while Bhiwani's minimum settled at 4.6 degrees.
Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, braved the chill at 4 degrees Celsius, down two degrees against normal limits.
In Punjab, Gurdaspur was the coldest place, recording a low of 2.4 degrees, while Ludhiana also experienced a cold night at 2.8 degrees Celsius.
Patiala's minimum settled at 3.4 degrees, down three notches against normal, while Adampur, which was the coldest place in the state on Saturday, recording a sub-zero temperature, registered a slight increase in minimum at 2.5 degrees Celsius, though it was still below the normal limits.
Halwara recorded a minimum of 3.9 degrees Celsius, while Amritsar and Pathankot registered near similar lows 5.9 degrees and 5.5 degrees Celsius.
MeT officials said fog had reduced visibility early on Sunday morning at many places, including Hisar, Karnal, Bhiwani, Ludhiana and Patiala.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 30, 2018 14:34:53 IST