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Delhi temperature dips to 70-year low

On Sunday morning, Delhi was colder than Shimla. The minimum temperature dipped seven degrees below normal to 0.2? C. Residents not only woke up to a mind-numbing chill, but also ground frost.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 19:34 IST

On Sunday morning, Delhi was colder than Shimla. The minimum temperature dipped seven degrees below normal to 0.2 degrees Celsius. Residents not only woke up to a mind-numbing chill, but also ground frost.

The last time the Capital got this cold was on January 15, 1935 when the mercury fell to minus 0.6 degrees.

One immediate result: the Delhi government ordered the closure of all primary schools for the next three days. More than 5,000 government, private and MCD schools are likely to be affected by the decision.

"It's very cold for young children," said Delhi education minister Arvinder Singh Lovely. "We've decided to keep the schools closed till Wednesday."

Delhi schools welcomed the decision as timely, given the extreme cold. "Not just the students and their parents, the staff too is happy with the decision," said DPS RK Puram principal Shayama Chona.

National Progressive Schools Conference chairperson Usha Ram said all leading public schools of the city would remain closed for primary students as per the government order.

The administration in Gurgaon also asked primary schools to remain closed for the next three days. Private schools, however, intend to extend their ongoing winter vacation by a week.

The cold — especially the frost on the roofs of cars — gave some people reason to cheer. "I was so excited," a teenager told a TV channel. "This is the first time I've seen it (frost)."

Supriya Singh, a fashion designer, said: "I was born in Delhi and this is the first time we're seeing ice on grass. It's just like snow... It's heavenly."

The Met department sent out a lowtemperature warning for the next three days. For Monday, it predicted a clear sky and a minimum hovering about 2 degrees, with mist or fog in the morning.

Churu in Rajasthan reported the lowest minimum temperature from the plains on Sunday morning -- minus 2.9 degrees (less than Srinagar's minus 2 degrees).

Things were about as cold in the rest of the region. Adampur near Jalandhar recorded a minimum of minus 2.2 degrees. Patiala saw a low of 0 degree, while things were just marginally better in Chandigarh (1 degree).

By the way, the minimum in Shimla on Sunday was 6 degrees.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 19:34 IST