Cold eases in N India; UP reports 8 more deaths



New Delhi: North India on Saturday got a much- needed respite from the intense cold as temperatures rose by a few notches in the region although eight more persons succumbed in UP due to the winter chill.

As the mercury rose, Kashmir received fresh snowfall in the morning which forced closure of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. The higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh, too, received slight snowfall with the temperatures rising a few notches across the state.

Residents in the national capital, too, experienced a considerably warmer day today with the maximum temperature being above normal for the first time in weeks.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 25.2 degrees Celsius which, according to the MeT office, was five degrees above normal.

MeT officials said that the minimum temperature of 7.7 degrees Celsius recorded in the city was normal for this time of the season.

In Uttar Pradesh, where the death toll from the cold now stands at 262, cold wave conditions continued in some pockets of the state where the maximum temperatures were below normal by 6 to 11 degrees Celsius.

Four persons are said to have succumbed in Balrampur district while the cold claimed two more lives in Barabanki and one each in Sultanpur and Hardoi districts. Night temperatures rose markedly in Bareilly and Moradabad divisions although, elsewhere, little had changed.

Punjab and Haryana saw the minimum temperatures rise by up to six notches above normal with Chandigarh, the common capital, experiencing a low of 8.1 degrees Celsius, three degrees up from the usual, the MeT office said.

Up north, most parts of the Kashmir Valley had turned white with the snowfall which began at around 6 AN. The minimum temperature in the summer capital of Srinagar, which received about half-an-inch of snow, was 0.4 degrees Celsius, up more than four notches from yesterday’s -4.0 degree Celsius.

Kargil in Ladakh region was the coldest place in the state with a low of -17.4 degrees Celsius, although it was about one degree higher than the previous night's -18.6 degrees Celsius.

Snowfall also occurred in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh with minimum and maximum temperatures seeing a slight rise throughout the state.

The Dhauladhar and Churdhar ranges, in Kangra and Sirmaur, respectively, received mild snowfall accompanied by icy, strong velocity winds as did the Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft) and other high altitude areas of the state.

The low-lying areas, including Shimla, on the other hand received light rain. Keylong was the coldest place in the state with a minimum recorded temperature of -7.1 degrees Celsius.

Karnal was the coldest place in Haryana where the mercury was at 5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees below normal.

In Rajasthan, certain areas saw a rise in night temperatures by few degrees. Sikar experienced the coldest temperature in the state with a minimum of 4.5 degrees Celsius followed by Sriganganagar at 4.8 degrees Celsius.

PTI