Patna: With day temperatures declining sharply and chilly winds blowing, the cold wave persisted in Bihar on Thursday as dense fog in the morning affected rail and air traffic.
The day temperature declined by five degree celsius at several places with chilly winds from the Himalayas sweeping the plains leading to persistence of the cold wave conditions, Meteorological Office Director AK Sen said.
The day temperature might decrease further with dense fog enveloping north Bihar districts, particularly those bordering Nepal due to swirling icy winds from the Himalayas, he said.
Nawada remained the coldest place with a minimum temperature of 4.6 degree celsius, five degree less than normal, while Gaya, Banka and Patna recorded minimum temperatures of 5.3, 5.5 and 6.8 degree celsius, the MET office said.
The minimum temperature also fell sharply in Bhagalpur, Darbhanga and Madhepura registering 6.6, 6.3 and 7.1 degree celsius, it said.
Dense fog, particularly in morning hours, hit rail services with several trains running behind schedule and a number had to be cancelled at the originating stations, railway sources said.
Commercial flights did not land or take off at the Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport here for the better part of the day due to poor visibility, airport sources said.
The first flight took off at 14:45 hours, while a flight from Kolkata landed at 14.13 hours after visibility improved, the sources said.
The state government has arranged bonfires at 480 places for the poor besides night shelters, a disaster management official said.
Media reports claimed 18 people have died because of the cold in the past 24 hours, but the Principal Secretary (Disaster Management) Vyasji emphatically denied it.