The prevailing cold conditions in north India worsened on Monday as heavy rain and snow lashed several parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, bringing temperatures below freezing point and taking the nationwide death toll to 139.
Normal life was thrown out of gear in poll-bound Uttarakhand following heavy snowfall. According to the meteorological department, more hailstorm and snowfall is expected in the next 24 hours and temperatures are expected to drop by another 2 to 3°C.
The state capital Dehradun recorded a maximum temperature of 16°C on Monday while the minimum was 6.2°C.
Snowfall also disturbed campaign plans of political parties across the state. Chief minister of Uttarakhand BC Khanduri was forced to trudge four km in the snow to file his nomination papers in Pauri on Monday.
Meanwhile, sub-zero temperatures in Kashmir claimed two more lives. For the first time this winter, even the maximum temperature across the Valley plunged below freezing point. Srinagar city recorded a low of minus 4.2°C and a maximum of minus 0.5°C.
The city had recorded the coldest day on Sunday at 0.6°C.
In Himachal Pradesh, heavy snowfall, accompanied by blizzards, snapped transport links cutting off several areas. Vehicular traffic came to a halt as fresh snow in Shimla, Kinnaur, Chamba and some other areas threw normal life out of gear.
Snapping of transmission lines in Chamba has left the entire district ‘power-less’ for the last 72 hours.
Punjab also reeled under piercing cold with Amritsar shivering at a low of 0.4°C.
(With agency inputs)