Several parts of north India was covered by dense fog today and mercury plummeted in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi while a man was suspected to have died of cold in Haryana. It was a chilly day in the national capital where minimum temperature settled at 7.3 degrees Celsius, a notch below the season’s average making it the coldest of the season so far. The maximum temperature was recorded at 19.5 degrees Celsius, four notches below the normal, a Meteorological (MeT) Department official said. Shallow fog at several places also dropped visibility during the morning hours. The humidity was between 95 and 53 per cent. Light rains at isolated places in western parts of Uttar Pradesh and fog in certain parts of the state pushed down minimum temperatures in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Moradabad divisions. Weather was dry over eastern Uttar Pradesh. Aligarh and Muzaffarnagar were the coldest places in the state with a low of 7.4 degrees Celsius. The mercury plummeted to 13 degrees Celsius in Chandigarh, the joint capital of Haryana and Punjab, during the day making it colder than Shimla and many other places in the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. An unidentified person, whom police believe was a beggar, was suspected to have died due to severe cold in Ambala City. His body was found opposite Rambagh Shiv temple this evening, police said. Severe cold conditions also gripped Punjab, with Amritsar (15.8 C), Ludhiana (15.1 C) and Patiala (15.1 C) recording below normal maximum temperature. Foggy weather also disrupted flight operations at the Chandigarh International Airport, forcing delay and cancellation of some flights for three days now. Poor visibility due to fog also caused delay of some trains passing through Punjab and Haryana. Bathinda today was the coldest place in Punjab recording a minimum temperature of 3.8 degrees Celsius while in Haryana, Hisar was the coldest with a low of 4.9 degrees.
In Rajasthan, the minimum temperature dropped by 1 to 4 degrees Celsius at most places in the state due to a change in the pattern of cold winds from Jammu and Kashmir, a MeT official said. Sriganganagar was the coldest place in the state at 3.3 degrees Celsius. In Himachal Pradesh, the hills and valleys groaned under freezing cold conditions as night temperature dropped further in spite of dry weather. Partial overcast condition was witnessed with high velocity winds sweeping the region. The Rohtang Pass, Dhundi, Patseo, Mari, Koksar and Keylong were cut off from rest of the state due to heavy snow.
Mercury hovered around freezing point at many places and Dalhousie, Solan, Palampur and Shimla which recorded a low of 1.4 degrees Celsius, 2.5, 4.2 and 4.4 degrees Celsius. The cold spell has hit all natural sources of water like lakes, springs, rivulets and tributaries of snow-fed rivers which have frozen, reducing the discharge of water in major rivers on which hydro-power projects had been installed.