Parts of North India continued to be affected by a severe cold wave over the weekend and on Monday.
In Rajasthan’s capital of Jaipur, the mercury dropped to 1 degree Celsius in the early hours of Monday, seven degrees below normal and the lowest in five decades, the India Meteorological Department said. Regional Met director Shiv Ganesh said the low temperature is the result of northerly and north-westerly dry and cold winds, PTI reported. On December 13, 1964, Jaipur’s minimum temperature had settled at zero degrees Celsius, Ganesh added.
Sikar town recorded a minimum temperature of minus 0.5 degrees Celsius, followed by Churu at 1.2 degrees Celsius, Pilani (1.6 degrees Celsius), Banasthali (1.8 degrees Celsius), Budi at 2 degrees Celsius, Bikaner at 2.6 degrees Celsius, Kota (2.8 degrees Celsius) and Jaisalmer (3 degrees Celsius).
Dense fog affected traffic movement in Pilani, Churu, Tonk, Jaipur, Kota, Swai Madhopur, Bundi, Bikaner, Sriganganagar and Jaisalmer districts, the IMD official said.
Meanwhile, the Capital Delhi is expected to record the coldest day in December on Monday in the last 119 years with the daytime temperature recorded at 9.4 degrees Celsius, the India Meteorological Department said. As dense fog engulfed the national Capital and its adjoining areas, more than 500 flights were delayed till the afternoon.
On Sunday, the weather department had issued a red-colour warning for Delhi, and the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, a day after the temperature in the national capital plunged to 2.4 degrees Celsius. The intense cold forced the Haryana government to order schools to remain closed closed on Monday and Tuesday, PTI reported.
Srinagar freezes at minus 6.5 degrees Celsius
The cold also intensified in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, with the minimum temperature in Srinagar dropping to the season’s lowest of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius, four degrees below normal, the India Meteorological Department reported. The city had recorded a low temperature of minus 6.2 degrees on Sunday.
In Jammu, the minimum temperature was recorded at 2.4 degrees Celsius, five degrees below normal, the coldest in a decade. The India Meteorological Department said that the city had recorded the coldest night ever on December 28, 1998, when the mercury had dropped to 0.9 degrees Celsius.
On Monday, dense fog forced the cancellation of all morning flights from Jammu airport, PTI reported. An official of the Airport Authority of India said that afternoon flights are likely to be delayed.
Pahalgam, the base camp for the Amarnath Yatra in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, experienced severe cold early on Monday, with the temperature falling to minus 10.4 degrees Celsius. Qazigund in South Kashmir recorded a low of minus 9.3 degrees Celsius, slightly up from minus 9.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
In Leh, the capital of Ladakh, the minimum temperature settled at minus 20 degrees Celsius, down from minus 19 degrees Celsius on Sunday. In nearby Drass, the temperature dropped to a bone-chilling minus 28.8 degrees Celsius.
Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are currently under the grip of “Chillai Kalan”, a 40-day period during which the region experiences by severe cold. Chillai Kalan lasts from December 21 to January 31.
“There is possibility of light rains or snowfall across Kashmir for a few days from December 31 and fresh spell of rain in the plains and snowfall in higher reaches in the Jammu region,” the weather department official said according to PTI. A wet spell of higher intensity may hit the region on January 5 and January 6, he said. “The spells of wet weather are likely to bring respite to the valley which has been grappling with the cold wave conditions,” he added.
In Jammu region, the Banihal town on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway recorded the lowest minimum temperature, at minus 1.6 degree Celsius, followed by Bhaderwah in Doda district at minus 0.2 degree Celsius.