Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand reeled under the grip of a piercing cold wave with most places recording the minimum temperature below the freezing point on Sunday. Though the sun shone bright in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi, icy winds pushed the minimum temperature below the normal level. While it was cold in the night and morning in Delhi, the mercury settled at 23.6 degrees Celsius owing to a warm afternoon. The city recorded a minimum of 7.8 degrees Celsius. In Rajasthan, Churu quivered at 1.6 deg C and was the coldest place in the desert state, where the minimum temperature remained below 10 deg C at most places. At 2.7 deg C, Bathinda recorded the lowest temperature in Punjab. Amritsar had a low of 3.3, Pathankot 3.6, Adampur 4, Ludhiana 5.2, Halwara 5.4, and Patiala 7.5 deg C. Chandigarh recorded a minimum of 7 deg C. Hisar recorded the lowest minimum (4 deg C) in Haryana.
Temperatures dropped across Uttar Pradesh overnight with Muzaffarnagar recording 5.1 deg C, the lowest in the state. The weather was dry over the state and shallow fog occurred at isolated places. The night temperature dipped by several degrees at most places in the Kashmir region owing to a dry weather.
Normal life came to a virtual standstill in Pahalgam where the mercury was recorded at minus 9.2 deg C. It was the coldest December night there in the last four years. At piercing minus 13.4 deg C, Kargil in the Ladakh region experienced the coldest night of this winter so far last night. Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – shuddered at minus 3.7 deg C.
Life moved at a snail’s pace in Qazigund which recorded a minimum of minus 3.8 deg C. Kokernag had a low of minus 3, Kupwara minus 3.8 and Gulmarg minus 7.5 deg C. Intense cold conditions led to the freezing of water bodies and drinking water taps in parts of Himachal Pradesh where the minimum temperatures were recorded 12 to 17 degrees below the freezing point.
High-altitude tribal areas and mountain passes groaned under arctic conditions, recording their minimums between minus 13 and minus 20 deg C. Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district recorded a minimum of minus 12 deg C. Kalpa in Kinnaur tribal district had a low of minus 2.8 deg C. The normal life came to halt in the tribal valleys owning to the frigid conditions.
All natural sources of water such as lakes, springs, rivulets and tributaries of major snow-fed rivers have frozen. The discharge of water in major rivers has reduced to 25 per cent. The power generation capacity of hydropower projects has reduced to 20 per cent.