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Sanjeev Bhalla, Hindustan Times
Kapurthala/New Delhi, December 21, 2012
Cold tightened its grip in North India on Friday as minimum temperatures dipped below normal across the region.
The lowest minimum temperature of 1.3° Celsius was recorded at Adampur in the plains which is five to six degrees below the normal. The minimum temperature of 6°C recorded at Amritsar, 6.1°C at Halwara, 5.9°C at Chandigarh, 5.3°C at Pathankot, 3.2°C at Bhatinda, 4.4°C at Ambala and 7.0°C at Jammu, said defence public relations officer Naresh Vij, while stating the temperature recorded at different army bases. At Srinagar, the minimum temperature was recorded at -4°C, he added.

In Delhi, the maximum temperature was recorded at 22.8°C, one degree more than the normal and the minimum temperature was 7.6°C, one less than the usual. Hisar in Haryana recorded a low of 5.8°C.

In Kashmir, 'Chillai Kalan'-- the 40 day period of harsh winter-- made an anti-climatic entry as bright, sunny and clear skies marked the first day on Friday.

Gulmarg skiing resort in north Kashmir and Pahalgam in south Kashmir and some other areas in the periphery of the Valley have witnessed snowfall last week but the weather has remained dry since then.

The clear skies have, however, resulted in drastic drop in night temperatures across the Valley with Gulmarg recording a low of -10.8°C last night. The fall in temperature could prove boon for the crop of wheat in Punjab and Haryana, agriculture experts say.

"Low temperature always increases the yield of wheat. If the temperature stays like this at this stage of crop-life, a record increase in wheat production is likely." "In the next 24 hours, clear skies, mild mist with little fog and chilled light breeze during night is expected," said Vig.  

With inputs from PTI