Life in most parts of north India continued to reel under cold weather conditions on Saturday and only farmers had a reason to cheer.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the mercury continued to settle below the freezing point owing to the dry weather, even as dense fog disrupted air and rail traffic in Jammu. A Jammu-bound flight was diverted to Amritsar, whereas another delayed due to poor visibility, Jammu airport officer on special duty (air traffic management) RK Awasthi has said. Several trains coming to Jammu, too, were running late, owing to the dense fog.
Foggy in Jammu, Srinagar sunny
For the third consecutive day, it was foggy conditions in the plains of Jammu region, and the day temperature lower than Srinagar by seven degrees Celsius.
The maximum temperature in Jammu (19°C) dipped 12 degrees from normal, while the minimum (5°C) dipped five degrees from normal.
The weather department says foggy condition are likely to continue for another three days. The higher reaches of the Jammu region received snowfall. The sudden huge dip in the temperature has affected normal life in the Jammu area, with traffic less than normal, as people preferred to stay indoors. School timings were altered to open late till January 30.
In contrast to the weather in Jammu, bright sunshine greeted people in the Kashmir Valley. The minimum temperature was -5°C in Srinagar, -6.7°C in Pahalgam and -4.5°C in Gulmarg on Saturday. In the Ladakh region, Leh recorded -16.2°C, while Kargil recorded -14.6°C as the minimum temperature. The weather office has forecast cold and dry weather conditions across Jammu and Kashmir till Wednesday (January 27).
Trains delayed in Punjab, Haryana
Punjab and Haryana also reeled under freezing cold conditions, with the mercury hovering well below normal in most areas, even as thick fog engulfed the region, affecting normal life, besides air, rail and road traffic.
In Punjab’s Amritsar region, while the minimum temperature was 3.5°C, the maximum was as low as 10.8°C, 8 degrees below normal. There was no respite for Patiala and Ludhiana as well, where the minimum temperature was 6.5 and 4.6°C, respectively and the day temperature also 5 to 6 degrees below normal.
Ambala recorded a minimum temperature of 4.5°C, two notches below normal, while the day temperature was 14.7°C. Chandigarh meteorological department director Surender Paul said: “The minimum temperature dips, because of no foggy condition during nights. January is the coldest month of the year, and the night temperature even dips to 1°C as well.” “Dry weather will continue across Punjab and Haryana, with hazy sunshine during day. Cold wave will continue with fog during mornings and late evening,” he said.
Karnal-based Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CCSRI) measured minimum temperature to be 3 degrees Celsius on Saturday. Fog in several parts of the region, including over national highway-1, also affected road and rail traffic. Trains and buses were delayed and biting cold forced people to stay indoors, depleting the weekend business and rush in the market areas.
However, the continued dip in the mercury has cheered up the state’s farmers, since these are ideal conditions for the Rabi crop that will be harvested in March.
UT’s coldest night
In the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the minimum temperature of 3.2°C, three notches below normal, gave the city its coldest night on Friday.
Sun shines in Shimla
Even as cold wave continue to sweep the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, the weather department has predicted dry weather for the next few days.
Sun was out in Shimla and other towns of the state but the day temperature increased by only 1 to 2 degrees Celsius, while the night temperature remained unchanged. Shimla meteorological centre director Manmohan Singh said snow and rain were predicted January 28 onwards.
On Saturday, Shimla recorded a minimum temperature of -2.4°C, Sundernagar -0.2°C, Bhuntar -0.6°C, Kalpa -2.4°C, Dharamshala 5°C, Keylong -9.8°C, Dalhousie 3.5°C, Solan -0.6°C, and Manali -3.4°C.
(With inputs from agencies)