New Delhi: Cold wave conditions continued unabated in north India on Saturday with the mercury hovering below normal levels in most parts and hilly areas reeling under freezing conditions.
In the national capital, residents woke up to a chilly morning with icy winds sweeping across the city. The minimum temperature settled at 7.2 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal.
However, as the day progress the sun shone bright and the maximum temperature climbed up to 21.5 degrees, which was normal for this time of the season.
According to a Northern Railway official, 17 north-bound trains including Mahabodhi Express, Brahmputra Mail and Purshottam Express were running behind their schedule due to fog in morning hours.
In Himachal Pradesh, temperatures hovered around freezing point in most parts and the state's higher reaches reeled under arctic conditions where the mercury stayed between minus 18 to minus 28 degrees Celsius.
Keylong experienced the coldest night with a minimum of minus 15.9 degrees, followed by Kalpa minus 6.6, Manali minus 4.6, Bhuntar minus 0.6, Una 0.1, Sundernagar 0.4, Solan 0.7, and Dharamsala 4.4 degrees Celsius.
Day temperatures rose marginally and Una in the Shivalik hills was warmest during the day with a maximum temperature of 22.2 degrees while Dharamshala recorded a high of 16.2 degrees and Shimla 11.8 degrees.
Meanwhile, the 40-day period of harshest winter, known as "Chillai-Kalan", ended today as the Kashmir Valley witnessed the driest winter in the last three decades with the lowest ever precipitation in January.
"This was one of the driest winters in the last three decades. It was in 1986 that the Valley witnessed such dry winter," MeT Director Sonam Lotus told PTI.
Lotus said the precipitation in January was the lowest ever this year. "The previous lowest precipitation was in January 2007 when it was 7 mm but this January it was recorded at only 4 mm. Normal for the period is 50 mm, so we can say that the weather was almost dry this winter," Lotus said.
As the weather remained dry, night temperatures continued to hover below the freezing point with Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, recording a low of minus 2.9 degrees, slightly up from yesterday's minus 3.5 degrees.
Kargil in Ladakh region was the coldest recorded place in the state as the night temperature settled at minus 16.6. Leh, also in Ladakh, registered a low of minus 15.2 degrees.
Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees. The hill resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir registered an increase of over a notch from minus 9.6 degrees to settle at minus 8.0.
Cold wave conditions also continued unabated in Punjab and Haryana with minimum temperatures hovering several notches below normal in most parts of both states.
Amid piercing cold conditions, Amritsar in Punjab was the coldest place as it recorded minimum temperature at 3 degrees, two notches below normal. The minimums in Ludhiana and Patiala were recorded at 6.2 and 7 degrees Celsius, respectively.
In neighbouring Haryana, Narnaul settled at 3.6 degrees Celsius while Karnal recorded 4 degrees. The Union Territory of Chandigarh, which witnessed bright sunshine this morning, recorded a low of 6.6 degrees Celsius.
Rajasthan, however, experienced slight respite from cold conditions as night temperatures increased marginally in parts of the state where Churu remained the coldest place with a minimum temperature of 3.2 degrees Celsius.
Minimums at Mount Abu, Pilani, Sriganganagar, Jaipur, Ajmer and Bikaner were recorded at 4, 5.1, 5.2, 6, 8 and 8.3 degrees Celsius, respectively.