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North India still grappling with cold

North India was still grappling with cold with Himachal Pradesh bracing for widespread showers and snowfall.

New Delhi: North India was still grappling with cold with Himachal Pradesh bracing for widespread showers and snowfall though Jammu and Kashmir did witness a bright, sunny end to the 40-day phase of harshest winter.

Delhi saw some improvement in the maximum, which rose to 24.4 degrees or three notches above normal, while the minimum was at 6.2 degrees Celsius, falling to three degrees below normal.

The sky over the national capital was partially cloudy on Wednesday with the MeT office saying that Delhiites may expect a somewhat similar weather tomorrow.

But, in Uttar Pradesh, the cold continued unabated in few parts of the state with Muzaffarnagar recording the lowest minimum temperature of 3.4 degrees Celsius.

The MeT office said that night temperatures had changed little in the state and added that the weather would be mainly dry over the state in the coming 24 hours with dense fog likely at several places.

Further north, it was a fresh weather disturbance looming over Himachal Pradesh which may receive rain and snowfall when an upper air system hits the western part of the region on February 2.

According to the MeT office, the influence of the weather phenomenon could lead to heavy snowfall at a few places in the middle and high reaches of the state at Chamba, Lahaul and Spiti, Kangra, Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla districts from midnight on February 4 to February 6.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the 40 days of the freezing `Chillai Kalan` ended on a sunny note as clear skies today marked the passing of what is considered the most difficult period of winter in the Valley.

Chillai Kalan, which starts on December 21 every year, had made an anti-climatic entry this time on a clear, sunny day which brought none of the snowfall expected to mark its advent.

Night temperatures in most of the parts of the Valley rose slightly, giving residents some relief from the cold with the MeT department saying that there will be no remarkable change in the weather in the coming few days.

The minimum night temperature in summer capital Srinagar remained unchanged from the previous night at -1.6 degrees Celsius while the mercury rose slightly in the hill resort of Pahalgam to settle at -6.7 degrees Celsius from -7.1 degrees Celsius the night before.

But there was no comfort from the persisting cold in
Punjab and Haryana with the mercury dipping to nearly four degrees below normal in many areas across the two states.

Hisar in Haryana was the coldest place in the region with a low of 3.7 degrees Celsius, which was three notches below normal, while Punjab`s Ludhiana braved a low of 4.4 degrees Celsius, four notches below normal.

Marking in increase in night temperatures was Chandigarh which registered a low of 7.3 degrees Celsius.

Fog and mist prevailed in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Karnal and Ambala with the MeT forecasting more of the same in the coming 24 hours which is unlikely to see any let up in the cold conditions.

In Rajasthan, Sri Ganganagar recorded the lowest temperature of 6.6 degrees Celsius while the mercury was up in several parts of the state.