New Delhi, Dec 12 (UNI) With five more deaths in Uttar Pradesh and two in Himachal Pradesh, the nationwide toll due to intense cold mounted to 23 today as northwest reeled under cold weather conditions following decline in the mercury.
The fresh casualties in UP were reported from Mahoba, Badaun and Lalitpur.
Taj City was the coldest recording a minimum temperature of 10 degrees celsius. Lucknow recorded 13 degrees. Severe cold has also gripped Lalitpur, which witnessed cloudy sky for the second consecutive day. In Bareilly, icy winds continued to shiver people, who preferred to stay indoors.
According to reports, intense cold accompanied by fog had hit rail and road service.
Intense cold wave, currently sweeping Himachal Pradesh following snowfall during the past two days, claimed lives of two people in Kullu district of the state. With these deaths, the toll in the current spell of cold rose to three in the region.
The minimum temperature dipped to zero degree celsius at tourist place of Manali in Kullu district while Bhuntar in the district showed 2.8 degrees Celsius. Una recorded 2.8 degrees and Sunderdnagar 5.5 degrees Celsius.
Shimla and its surrounding areas also reeled under cold wave conditions with the minimum dipping to 1.3 degrees Celsius at the capital town.
A dense fog enveloped many areas in the morning, reducing the visibility considerably.
In Punjab, Amritsar reeled under cold conditions with mercury dipping to 7.6 degrees Celsius in the holy city. The ongoing severe cold wave had claimed the life of a person in Hoshiarpur district on Monday night.
Ludhiana and Patiala also recorded a fall in the mercury, respectively recording 7.7 degrees and 8.5 degrees, two degree above normal.
The minimum temperatures also dipped in Haryana but hovered one degree to three degrees above normal. Ambala recorded the minimum at 7.9 degrees, Narnaul 8.0 degrees, Rohtak 8.7 degrees, Karnal 8.8 degrees and Hissar 9.3 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature plummeted at Chandigarh following brief spell of intermittent rain. Cold surface winds swept across the city during the day. The city recorded 9.0 degrees, two degrees above normal.
Over 1000 passengers were stranded on the 300-km-long Jammu-Srinagar National Highway today as the vehicular movement between the two regions was suspended due to heavy snowfall near Jawahar Tunnel, a senior official said.
Continued rains since yesterday had also made the entire highway slippery forcing the authorities to suspend vehicular movement between Jammu and Srinagar.
The summer capital, Srinagar and adjoining areas received season's first light snowfall today. The upper reaches, particularly south Kashmir experienced heavy snowfall since yesterday afternoon, thus ending the long dry spell.
It snowed heavily on the upper reaches including tourist resorts of Pahalgam, Deksum, Ahrabal and Kokernag.
The winter chill returned to Delhi as the mercury slid to 8.4 degrees Celsius today after providing brief warmth from yesterday's 12.1 degrees C.
Three people, including a woman, were suspected to have died of cold in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra over the past 48 hours.
The weathermen forecasted mist or fog for tomorrow morning.
Heavy rains are likely to occur at many places in Tamil Nadu, while rain or snow are likely to occur at a few places in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
Rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at a few places in west Rajasthan and at isolated places in Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, north Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, east Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalseema, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep.
Mainly dry weather will prevail over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Gangetic West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand, south Bihar, Haryana, Vidarbha, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Konkan, Goa, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Telangana and Karnataka.