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Cold wave persists in north, fresh snowfall in Kashmir

 There was no respite from the winter chill in north India today as cold wave persisted in most parts of the region and a fresh spell of snowfall occurred in Kashmir Valley.

New Delhi: There was no respite from the winter chill in north India today as cold wave persisted in most parts of the region and a fresh spell of snowfall occurred in Kashmir Valley.

Delhi reeled under a severe cold wave with icy winds sweeping through the city and the minimum temperature being the lowest on this date in the last five years.

"This is the coldest January 29 in the last five years. The minimum temperature had settled four notches below the season's average at 4.8 degrees Celsius and 3.1 degrees less than yesterday's minimum," said a MeT department official.

However, as the day progressed bright sunshine brought some relief and the maximum temperature stood at 18.7 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal.

Early morning fog disrupted road and rail traffic in the capital and several other parts of the region. More than 70 trains including premier services like Rajdhani were running late. A few trains were either rescheduled or cancelled.

Meanwhile, the Kashmir Valley experienced fresh snowfall with most places, especially the plains, witnessing the first snow of the season, breaking the prolonged dry spell at the fag end of 'Chillai-Kalan', the 40-day harshest winter period.

Owing to cloudy sky, the minimum temperature across the Valley appreciated giving the residents some relief from the intense cold conditions. Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 0.2 degrees, two notches up from the previous night's minus 2.3 degrees Celsius. The city recorded 0.3 mm of snowfall, first of the season, in morning.

The mercury in the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir registered an increase of two degrees as the minimum settled at minus 8.6 degrees Celsius, compared to minus 10.6 the previous night. The resort recorded 0.4 mm of snowfall.

Pahalgam hill resort recorded a minimum of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius, up by over four degrees from the previous night's minus 6.6. It recorded 9 cm of snowfall till 8 AM.

The night temperature increased by over four notches in Leh of the frontier Ladakh region to settle at minus 12.2, compared to minus 16.4 degrees Celsius yesterday.

In Kargil, the minimum temperature increased by around two notches from yesterday and settled at minus 13.7 degrees Celsius.

There was no let up in the cold wave conditions sweeping several parts of Punjab and Haryana for the past several days with further dip in night temperatures in many areas.

Barring Amritsar where the minimum had yesterday dropped to minus one degree Celsius, the mercury at most other places today dipped by a few notches.

The minimum temperature at Amritsar rose slightly since yesterday to settle at 2.9 degrees Celsius, but even then it was two notches below normal. Ludhiana's low settled at 3.9 while Patiala recorded a minimum temperature of 4.5 degrees.

Narnaul in Haryana recorded a minimum temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius, five notches below normal. Hisar too recorded bone-chilling low at 2.1 degrees Celsius.

The residents of Chandigarh, where the minimum settled at 6.2 degrees, woke up to a chilly morning with icy winds sweeping the city.

In the desert state of Rajasthan, cold conditions continued unabated. Churu remained the coldest place in the state with the minimum temperature settling at 0.4 degree C.

Mount Abu, the state's sole hill station, recorded a night temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Night temperature settled at 4.4 degrees in Dabok, while people in Jaipur and Sriganagar shivered at 4.6 degrees Celsius.

Fog affected road and rail traffic in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.