Rains keep cold wave at bay in north India, snow-covered Rohtang Pass shut for traffic
Scattered rains continued in some parts of north India giving respite to the people from the intense cold wave conditions even as the mercury dipped by a few notches in the Kashmir Valley after a short breather.
New Delhi: Scattered rains continued in some parts of north India giving respite to the people from the intense cold wave conditions even as the mercury dipped by a few notches in the Kashmir Valley after a short breather.
It was a pleasant day in Delhi as the minimum temperature settled at 12 degrees Celsius, five notches above the season's average. The city received scattered rain since yesterday. The maximum stood at 19 degrees, one notch below normal.
Foggy conditions prevailed in some parts of Delhi and Rajasthan, affecting train services. According to railway officials, a couple of trains were cancelled while several were running late.
Dense fog also disrupted rail and road traffic in Rajasthan, where the mercury dipped by one to five degrees Celsius at most places due to an upper air cyclonic disturbance passing through the state.
Churu on plains and Mount Abu on hills shivered at 4 degrees Celsius. Sikar recorded a minimum temperature of 5 degrees Celsius, followed by Pilani 5.4, Sriganganagar 7, Udaipur 8, and Ajmer 9.2 degrees Celsius.
State capital Jaipur was engulfed in thick fog till 10 am, and the city recorded a minimum temperature of 9 degrees Celsius, about five degrees less than the previous night.
Light to moderate rains continued in Punjab and Haryana. The Union Territory of Chandigarh, which received 7.1 mm of rains, recorded a minimum temperature of 11.2 degrees Celsius.
In Haryana, Ambala recorded a low of 10.3 degrees and rainfall of 4 mm. In Punjab, Amritsar registered a minimum of 6 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal. Ludhiana and Patiala, which were lashed by rains, recorded respective above normal minimum temperatures of 10 and 10.7 degrees.
Meanwhile, minimum temperatures in the Kashmir Valley dropped again after a day's respite. In Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, night temperature registered a drop of over two degrees from the previous night's low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius to settle at minus 4.4 degrees.
Qazigund, the gateway town to the Kashmir Valley, marked a low of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius compared to minus 3.4 the previous night. The mercury in Pahalgam resort in south Kashmir registered a decrease of over three degrees from minus 3.0 degrees Celsius the previous night to settle at minus 6.4.
Minimum temperature in the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg settled at minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, down by over two degrees from the previous night.
Night temperatures in Kupwara, in north Kashmir, and Kokernag, in south, also dipped to settle at the minimum of minus 4.4 degrees and minus 2.7 degrees Celsius, respectively.
The minimum temperature in Leh, however, increased by over a degree to settle at minus 12.2 degrees Celsius compared to the previous night's low of minus 13.6 degrees Celsius.
Kargil, also in the Ladakh region, registered a low of minus 15.0 degrees Celsius. Kargil was the coldest recorded place in the state.
The Kashmir Valley is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' - the 40-day harshest winter period, which begins on December 21. The chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent during this period and the weather remains cold as the day temperature also dips drastically, freezing most of the water bodies including the famous Dal Lake.
In Himachal Pradesh, Rohtang Pass, the crucial high altitude road link between Manali and Keylong, has been shut for traffic due to heavy snowfall, an official said.
The pass normally opens to traffic in May.
In the past two days, the Rohtang Pass experienced more than five feet of snow, the official told IANS. "It has been closed for motorists till the onset of summer."
The General Reserve Engineering Force, a wing of the Border Roads Organisation that maintains the pass, has withdrawn its men and machinery.
The Rohtang Pass, at 13,050 feet above sea level, is strategically vital to maintain supplies to the military posted in Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region along the borders with China and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, light to moderate rainfall occurred at isolated places over Uttar Pradesh and mercury changed a little, keeping the state covered under cold conditions.
Kaisergunj recorded 2 cm rainfall, followed by Bahraich, Aonla 1 cm, the Met department said, adding that fog occurred at a few places.
The lowest minimum temperature was recorded at 6.6 degrees Celsius at Etawah while night temperatures changed little over all divisions of the state.