It was freezing cold in most parts of the northern states on Christmas day, with Srinagar recording its coldest night of the season at minus 4.3 degrees Celsius that froze water supply lines at several places and Haryana government announcing that schools will remain closed on Thursday.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) severe cold accompanied by fog is expected in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and north Rajasthan on Thursday. The weather office said thundershowers are expected at some places in the plains and low hills of Himachal Pradesh.
On Wednesday, Narnaul was the coldest recorded place in Haryana at 3.2 degrees Celsius. Similarly, Sikar was the coldest in Rajasthan at 2.5 degrees Celsius and Keylong recorded the lowest in Himachal Pradesh at minus 12.4 degrees Celsius.
Also, Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ – the 40-day harshest period of the winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum temperature drops considerably.
In Delhi, moderate to dense fog was witnessed in the morning and the maximum temperature settled at 12.7 degrees Celsius, nine notches below normal.
The weatherman said a cold wave is likely to hit the city as the mercury is expected to drop to 4 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
Since December 16, the national capital has registered nine cold days, equal to that recorded in 2003.
Cold conditions prevailed in Haryana and Punjab as well and is likely to continue for the next two days. Hisar recorded the second coldest temperature in Haryana at 4.1 degrees Celsius, after Narnaul.
Biting cold also continued in several other parts of Haryana, including Karnal (6 deg C), Rohtak (5 deg C), Bhiwani (5.7 deg C), Sirsa (6.1 deg C) and Ambala (5.5 deg C).
Faridkot was the coldest in Punjab at 4.6 deg C. Ludhiana at 5.5 deg C, Patiala at 5.8 deg C, Bathinda at 5.9 deg C, Halwara at 5.8 deg C, Adampur at 7.2 deg C and Amritsar at 6.5 deg C too experienced a cold night.
Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, recorded a low of 6.9 degree Celsius. Most parts of Haryana and Punjab were engulfed by a thick blanket of fog in the morning.
Kashmir reeled under sub-zero temperatures with Srinagar experiencing the coldest night of the season so far.
The minimum temperature across Kashmir and Ladakh remained several degrees below the freezing point. In Srinagar, the extreme cold led to freezing of water supply lines at several places.
The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 9.0 deg C. The night temperature at Pahalgam resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, settled at 11.4 deg C.
Pahalgam, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, was the coldest recorded place in the valley, the weather office said.
Qazigund the gateway town to the valley – in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 9.4 deg C. Kokernag town, also in the south, recorded a low of minus 6.7 deg C, while Kupwara in the north, registered the minimum of minus 5.6 deg C.
Leh in the Union Territory of Ladakh recorded a low of minus 17.8 degrees Celsius.
The ‘Chillai-Kalan’ period in Kashmir began on December 21 and ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
In Rajasthan, Pilani, Churu, Jaisalmer and Ganganagar recorded minimum temperatures of 4.3 deg C, 4.5 deg C, 5.4 deg C and 5.8 deg C, respectively.
The night temperature in Bikaner, Jaipur, Ajmer, Jodhpur and Dabok were 6.1 deg C, 7.1 deg C, 9.5 deg C, 10.2 deg C and 12.2 deg C, respectively. The weather conditions are likely to remain the same till Friday.
The weather office predicted fresh snowfall and rains in some parts of Himachal Pradesh on the last day of the year.
On Wednesday, the weather remained dry and cold with dense fog in the plains and lower hills. The maximum and minimum temperatures settled below normal limits.
Kalpa in Kinnaur district registered a low of minus 4.6 deg C, while Manali in Kullu and Kufri in Shimla district shivered at minus 2.6 and minus 1 deg C respectively.
The minimum temperatures in Dalhousie and Shimla were 2.2 and 2.3 deg C respectively.
Among other places, Sundernagar recorded a low of 0.1 deg C, followed by Bhuntar (0.2 deg C), Solan (0.5 deg C), Chamba (1.5 deg C), Palampur (2 deg C), Dharamshala (2.3 deg C), Mandi and Hamirpur (4.1 deg C).
The minimum temperatures in Kangra, Bilaspur, Una and Nahan was 2.4 deg C, 5 deg C, 5.6 deg C and 8.9 deg C respectively.
Very light rain/thundershowers occurred at isolated places in Uttar Pradesh.
The weatherman said severe cold day temperatures were recorded at most places in the western part of the state and at many places in the eastern region.
He said the weather is most likely to remain dry, and shallow to moderate fog is very likely at many places on Thursday.
The IMD predicted cold day conditions at isolated pockets over Madhya Pradesh and Bihar during the next five days. Dense fog is likely in isolated pockets over Bihar, north Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya and lower reaches of the Western Himalayan region during the same period, it added.
The agency’s weather forecast said thunderstorm accompanied with lightning is very likely in isolated places in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala.