N India shivers under cold wave; Leh is - 23.6 C

Intense cold wave gripped northern India claiming at least eight lives.

Updated: Jan 02, 2011, 21:58 PM IST

New Delhi: Leh town in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday saw mercury nosediving to this winter`s lowest of minus 23.6 deg C as an intense cold wave gripped northern India, claiming at least eight lives.

"Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 23.6 deg
C which is the coldest this winter," a Met department official

The cold wave has also intensified in Gulmarg skiing
resort in north Kashmir and Pahalgam resort in south Kashmir,
where mercury plunged 12 degrees below freezing point -- the
coldest night in both the tourist spots this winter.

Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley, was
freezing at minus 7.4 deg C while Kokernag town in Anantnag
district recorded a night temperature of minus six deg C.

Srinagar, which saw a minimum of 0.8 degrees above melting point of ice yesterday, plunged to minus 2.4 deg C.

Meanwhile, two-way traffic has resumed on Jammu- Srinagar National Highway, the only road link between Kashmir
and rest of the country.

Delhi shivered on yet another cold morning as the
maximum dropped to 14.6 deg C, six degrees below normal for this period of time, while minimum was recorded at 7.8
degrees, one degree above normal, the MeT office said.

Five more deaths were reported in different parts of
Uttar Pradesh as mercury dipped sharply due to showers at a
few places in the state taking the toll to 24.

While a 70-year-old man and a two-year-old boy died in
Bahraich and Farukkhabad districts respectively, one death
each was reported from Sitapur, Mahoba and Chitrakoot due to
cold in the last 24 hours, official sources said.

Three deaths were reported from Jammu and Kashmir.

Despite a clear and sunny day, mercury dropped further
in Himachal Pradesh where all the major towns in lower hills
reeled under the cold wave.

Water in taps froze at many places in lower and mid
hills and thick ground frost occurred in mid and higher hills.

Sunder Nagar and Bhuntar recorded a low of minus 1.5
deg C, minus 1.3 deg C and minus 0.3 deg C, respectively.
Shimla recorded a low of 1.7 degree C.

Keylong, headquarter of tribal Lahaul and Spiti
district experienced its coldest night with temperature
dipping to minus 12.9 deg C.

Nahan in Sirmaur district recorded a low of 2.1 deg C,
five degree below normal while Mandi, Palampur and Dharamsala recorded minimum temperature at 2.3 deg C, 2.6 deg C and 3.1 deg C, two to three degree below normal.

The roads and high mountain passes of Rohtang and
Kunzam providing access to the valley were completely blocked due to 200 cm to 300 cm of snow.

Cold wave swept Rajasthan with Mount Abu recording a
low of minus 4.2 deg C, making it the most coldest place in
the desert state.

Aranpura in Pali recorded minimum 2.6 deg C, while it
was 4.4 deg C in Jaipur and 4.6 deg C in Dabok.

Punjab and Haryana, also, witnessed extreme cold
conditions during the day even though the minimum temperatures settled a few notches above normal.

A thick blanket of fog at many places in these states
including Ambala, Rohtak, Amritsar and Ludhiana early today
affected normal life, a report said.

Chandigarh recorded a low of 8.6 deg C.

In Haryana, Ambala registered a low of 7.3 deg C, up two notches while the minimum at Hisar was 8.6 deg C, also two
notches above normal.

Ludhiana and Patiala in Punjab recorded respective lows of 8.8 deg C and 7.8 deg C, both up by two degrees each.