The India Meteorological Department has predicted that weather conditions in Kashmir Valley will improve on Thursday and Friday, a day after most parts of the valley received light to heavy snowfall, causing the cancellation of 23 flights at Srinagar airport. The region is likely to receive heavy snowfall for five days starting January 19, the Hindustan Times reported.

Srinagar is likely to receive light snowfall on Friday and Saturday, but conditions will worsen between January 20 and 23, the weather department predicted. On Wednesday, Srinagar recorded 5.4 mm of snow and rain, Pahalgam 8.5 mm, Kupwara 10.2 mm and Kokernag 1 mm, an official told Greater Kashmir.

“We were not expecting such a moderate snowfall,” said Sonam Lotus, the regional director of the Met department. “We were expecting very light snowfall at isolated places because a comparatively intense western disturbance is becoming active over Jammu and Kashmir from January 19 onward.”

Only four flights were able to operate at Srinagar airport on Wednesday, said Tahir Saleem Khan, the senior superintendent of police (airport).

Superintendent of Traffic Police (Rural) Muzaffer Ahmad Shah said the Srinagar-Jammu highway was open for traffic. However, roads to rural areas in Kupwara district and border towns of Machil, Keran, Karnah and Tangdhar remained closed. Electricity supply to rural areas was also affected.

The maximum temperature recorded in Srinagar on Wednesday was 1 degrees Celsius, five degrees below normal. On Thursday morning, the minimum temperature stood at minus 1.3 degrees Celsius, one degree above normal.

Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan has issued a fresh avalanche warning for nine districts – Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh.

Himachal Pradesh

In Himachal Pradesh, fresh snowfall reduced minimum temperatures on Thursday. Keylong, the administrative centre of the tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti, recorded a minimum temperature of minus 10 degrees Celsius, the coldest in the state, PTI reported. It received 3 cm snowfall from 5.30 pm on Wednesday to 8.30 am on Thursday, said Shimla IMD Centre Director Manmohan Singh.

The maximum temperature in Shimla on Wednesday was 13.1 degrees Celsius, two degrees above normal. The minimum temperature on Thursday morning was 3.2 degrees Celsius. However, minimum temperature in Kullu Manali was minus 0.6 degree Celsius, while it was zero in Chail, 0.9 degrees Celsius in Kufri and 1.7 degrees Celsius in Dalhousie.

New Delhi

The minimum temperature in New Delhi stood at 4.2 degrees Celsius on Thursday morning, three degrees below normal. The maximum temperature on Wednesday was 21.3 degrees Celsius, one degree above normal.

Northern Railway officials said as many as 11 trains, including Purushottam Express, Poorva Express, Bhubneshwar-Delhi Duronto and Bramhaputra Mail, were delayed by two to three hours due to heavy fog, The Indian Express reported. The visibility was just 400 metres at Safdarjung at 8.30 am and 250 metres at Palam at 7.30 am.

The cold weather in Delhi is likely to continue on Friday, but minimum temperatures will rise to between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius from Saturday. Rain is likely on January 22 and 23, reducing the maximum temperatures.

Punjab and Haryana

Meanwhile, a cold wave persisted in most parts of Punjab and Haryana on Thursday, The Tribune reported, citing Met department officials. Amritsar recorded a minimum temperature of 0.4 degrees Celsius, three days below normal. In Ludhiana, the minimum temperature fell to 4.8 degrees Celsius, one degree below normal. Chandigarh recorded a minimum temperature of 6.1 degrees Celsius on Thursday.

In Haryana’s Hisar, the minimum temperature touched 3.5 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal. Temperature in Karnal fell to 3.6 degrees Celsius, 3.8 degrees in Sirsa, and while it was 4 degrees Celsius in Rohtak.

Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, Muzaffarnagar recorded the lowest temperature on Thursday, at 3.2 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal. This was accompanied by fog, which is likely to continue till January 20. In Meerut, the temperature fell to 3.8 degrees Celsius, four degrees below normal. The district was also affected by dense fog.

Minimum temperatures in Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Faizabad, Allahabad, Lucknow, Bareilly and Agra were also below normal on Thursday morning.