New Delhi: Snowfall in the hilly areas of northern India kept the region in the grip of the winter chill while leading to tragedy in Himachal Pradesh where four persons died in incidents triggered by cold weather phenomena.
Nine persons were also reported as missing in the tribal Lahaul and Spiti and Chamba districts of Himachal Pradesh as cold wreaked havoc in the hill state.
Two persons succumbed to the cold after being caught in a blizzard today at Gramfu near Keylong. A third victim was rescued in a serious condition, sources said.
The bodies of the deceased have been recovered while the injured person is to be airlifted to Kullu tomorrow.
Two other persons died yesterday in an accident near Thirot, about 40km from Keylong, after their vehicle got stuck in heavy snowfall. The lone survivor in that mishap was airlifted by rescue personnel.
The higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh reeled under the biting cold with Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie, Narkanda, Sarahan and Sangla valley receiving moderate snowfall while the middle and lower hills were hit by showers.
Manali received 12 cm while Shimla got 6 cm of fresh snowfall. The minimum was at -2 degrees in Manali with Shimla seeing the mercury settle at 1.6 degrees.
Chamba was the wettest place in the state with 48mm rainfall followed by Karsog (22mm) and Bhoranj (20mm).
Rohtang Pass has been closed and vehicular traffic suspended on the Manali-Leh road beyond Solang.
In Delhi, two days of bleak weather was followed by clear skies and a sunny morning with the maximum and minimum temperatures both registering a slight rise over yesterday.
The minimum in the national capital was recorded at 12.5 degrees Celsius, against 12 degrees yesterday, while the maximum rose by a notch from 17.4 degrees to touch 18.4 degrees.
While the minimum had jumped five notches above normal, the maximum was three degrees below that mark in Delhi.
In Jammu and Kashmir, snowfall continued in the higher reaches of Kashmir Valley even as the minimum temperatures in the area dipped further to settle below freezing point.
Srinagar received 0.5mm rainfall in the night and had the mercury settling at a low of -0.4 degrees, against the previous night`s 0.3 degrees.
The ski-resort of Gulmarg received around 1.25cm snow with the mercury there dropping three notches to settle at -9.6 degrees. Pahalgam hill resort received 20cm snow and recorded a low of -4.0 degrees.
The night temperature also fell in Leh, which remained the coldest place in J-K with a low of -9.0 degrees as against -6.2 degrees the night before.
Neighbouring Uttarakhand also shivered under the worsening cold with the mercury plummeting at several places across the state.
Mussoorie and neighbouring areas were lying under thick sheets of snow and, although the sun was out in state capital Dehradun, the city remained covered by a thin veil of mist throughout the day. The state capital recorded a low of 5.7 degrees.
Tehri was the coldest place in the state with a low of 0.8 degrees followed by Mukteshwar (1.6 degrees), Pithoragarh (2.6)?and Mussoorie (2.7).
In the plains, minimum temperatures hovered close to normal across Punjab and Haryana.
Union Territory and the common capital of Chandigarh recorded a low of 8.1 degrees while Ambala in Haryana saw the mercury settle at 8.9 degrees.
In Punjab, Amritsar recorded a low of 7 degrees with Patiala and Ludhiana at 10.8 and 9.2 degrees, respectively.
In Uttar Pradesh, meanwhile, a death was reported due to the cold in Shamli district where a three-year-old child succumbed to the chill at a private riot relief camp.
The child died yesterday due to cold at Manna Majra village under the Kairana police station, a camp official said.
Light rainfall and thundershowers were reported at isolated places in the Moradabad division while the minimum fell appreciably in the Lucknow division. The lowest minimum recorded in UP was 5 degrees at Nazibabad.
Dense fog continued to disrupt normal life in most parts of Rajasthan for the third consecutive day today with poor visibility hitting surface traffic.
As many as 31 trains were running late while six trains had to be rescheduled due to heavy fog.
Bikaner shivered at 4.5 degrees followed by Jaisalmer and Sriganganagar with identical lows of 7.2 degree.