Bright Christmas in north but chill tightens grip

It was a clear, bright Christmas day across large parts of northern India with no major snowfall or rain in the region where temperatures, however, recorded a slide as the cold gained in intensity.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 25, 2013, 20:14 PM IST

New Delhi: It was a clear, bright Christmas day across large parts of northern India on Wednesday with no major snowfall or rain in the region where temperatures, however, recorded a slide as the cold gained in intensity.

It was a cheerful morning in Delhi today with only a shallow fog cover which cleared out later in the day.

The minimum temperature in the national capital was recorded at a drop of one notch from yesterday at 7.5 degrees Celsius. The maximum on a windy day in the city was at 20.4 degrees.

Higher up, the weather improved in the Kashmir Valley after three days with no rain or snowfall reported even as night temperatures stayed below freezing point in most areas.

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, saw the mercury continue at the 0.6 degrees recorded the night before while the ski-resort of Gulmarg, to where tourists flock to celebrate Christmas, was the coldest place in the state with a low of -9.3 degrees.
The night temperature in Ladakh`s Leh increased by over two degrees to settle at a low of -6.3 degrees as against -8.9 degrees the previous night.

Meanwhile, in Himachal Pradesh, the intense cold sweeping the state showed no signs of easing with the mercury hovering around freezing point at many places.

The high altitude areas of the state froze under the severe cold with the mercury staying between -10 and -18 degrees.

Thick ground frost occurred in the higher hills while fog engulfed towns along the river banks, hampering vehicular traffic in the morning hours.

Keylong and Kalpa in the Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts recorded minimums of -5 and -2.4 degrees, respectively.

State capital Shimla and Dharamsala registered lows of 4.5 and 5.8 degrees, respectively.

The weatherman has predicted dry weather in the state over the coming four days with rain or snowfall likely from December 31 onwards in the middle and higher hills.

Down in the plains, a biting cold wave had Punjab and Haryana firmly in its grip with minimum temperatures taking a dip at many places across the two neighbouring states which, however, had relief from fog this morning.
Chandigarh recorded its lowest temperature so far this season at 5.7 degrees, but woke up to a bright, sunny morning.

Narnaul in Haryana was the coldest place across the two states with a low of 3.2 degrees, three notches below normal.

In Punjab, Amritsar shivered at a low of 5.2 degrees while Ludhiana and Patiala saw the mercury settle at 6.6 and 7 degrees, respectively.

Rajasthan, too, was having a tough time in the cold and was also grappling with the dense fog which continued to affect normal life in the state.

With a low of 1.5 degrees, Churu was the coldest place in the state where the mercury dipped at all places by two to three degrees due to north-westerly winds.

North Western Railway cancelled one train and rescheduled three others while eight trains were running late due to the fog, a railway official said.

Road traffic on the Delhi-Jaipur, Jaipur-Agra, Jaipur-Kota and Jaipur-Udaipur highways, too, was affected by fog, a State Road Transport Corporation official said.

Mercury fell in several parts of Uttar Pradesh with Najibabad recording the lowest night temperature of 3.5 degrees.

Night temperatures fell appreciably in Varanasi, Faizabad, Allahabad, Lucknow, Moradabad and Jhansi divisions of the state with the weather department hinting at dry and foggy conditions at a few places in the morning hours.