North India reels under cold onslaught

New Delhi : A dense veil of fog in Delhi and Agra, frozen taps in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh and renewed chill in Punjab and Haryana — train, air and road traffic was affected in north India Wednesday even as the unusual cold wave subsided down south.

At least 35 trains were cancelled, including trains to Chandigarh, Allahabad, Varanasi, Mathura and Kolkata, and 40 were running late due to thick fog in the morning in Delhi.

“The reduced visibility caused a delay in around 118 flights, while eight flights were cancelled due to bad weather. The runway visibility dipped below 100 metres and the general visibility to less than 50 metre,” said an airport official.

Railway stations saw long queues at the inquiry counters where confused and tired passengers tried to know about new train schedules.

The minimum temperature in the capital nose-dived to 5.6 degrees Celsius, a fall of 4 degrees from Tuesday.

In Agra as well, a thick blanket of fog greeted the commuters early morning. Children had a tough time reaching schools and some homemakers mooted extended vacations. The minimum temperature was recorded at 7.2 degrees Celsius.

The fog also affected tourists coming from Delhi as vehicles slowed down. “This leaves tourists with less stay time in Agra and they are forced to drop one or two monuments,” tourist guide Ved Gautam said .

The maximum temperatures took a dip in most places in Haryana and Punjab with cold wave conditions resurfacing Wednesday. The highs at most places were two to nine degrees below average.

The lowest temperature in Haryana was at Narnaul at 4.5 degrees. Chandigarh had a high of 17.1 and a low of 10 degrees. In Punjab, Amritsar recorded a low of 4.4.

Up north, Jammu and Kashmir summer capital Srinagar reported a minimum temperature of minus 1.4 degrees.

“Cold wave conditions, which had abated due to the snowfall, returned,” local meteorological office director Sonam Lotus told IANS.

One-way traffic was restored on the snowed-in Srinagar-Jammu highway and 150 trucks carrying essential supplies to the Kashmir Valley were allowed to move from Jammu towards Srinagar.

Normal air traffic to Kashmir was also restored as civilian flights to and from Srinagar airport operated normally.

The cold wave conditions were unabated in Himachal Pradesh as well as the minimum temperature in the state nose-dived by one to two degrees.

Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti, was the coldest in the state with a low of minus 11.2 degrees.

Shimla, which saw 1.2 cm of snow, saw the night temperature at 0.2 degree. Water in the taps in residential areas remained frozen due to the extreme cold.

Down south, the chill subsided in Andhra Pradesh where cold wave has claimed 17 lives this week.

Temperature rose towards normal in most parts of the state due to the weakening of upper air circulation over Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, according to Met officials.

The minimum temperature in most places has now risen to nine degrees.

In Karnataka, people were forced to bring out woollens due to chilly nights. However, the days are sunny. Bangalore recorded a minimum of 13 degrees.

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