Freezing cold grips North India, toll touches 195

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New Delhi, Feb 1 (UNI) With the Kashmir valley witnessing its first death due to cold, the nationwide toll today touched 195 as icy cold conditions continued in North-west India.

The toll due to the unabated cold wave has mounted to 137 in Uttar Pradesh, 22 in Jammu and Kashmir, 15 in Gujarat, ten in Himachal Pradesh, four each in Bihar and Punjab and one in Sikkim.

Cold wave tightened its grip in the Kashmir valley following further decline in the mercury with Srinagar recording minus 6.4 degrees. Official sources said a beggar died due to cold at Kathidarwaza in the down town city early this morning.

This was the first death due to cold in the valley. However, more than 20 people, including soldiers, a woman skier from Norwegian and porters were killed after they were buried alive under avalanches in different parts of the valley during the past two months. Bodies of soldiers, porters and skier were yet to be recovered because of heavy snowfall.

A weather office spokesman said it was the coldest night in February.

Pahalgam remained cold after the minimum was recorded minus 15.4.

There was also no let-up in the cold in Leh, Kargil and Drass.

The night temperature in Kupwara and other upper reaches remained below freezing point.

Mercury declined further in Punjab with the minimum dipping to minus 1.0 degrees at Amritsar and Adampur.

The cold weather conditions in Punjab in the month of January has adversely effected the sugarcane crop, winter maize and vegetables.

The border state which has been reeling under a cold wave had sixteen frosty days as against five considered to be normal for the month of January.

Ludhiana and Patiala also reeled under the cold wave recording a minimum temperature of 2.1 degrees and 3.2 degrees respectively.

Cold wave also swept Haryana with the minimum temperatures declining by two degrees to six degrees below normal. The mercury settled at 1.3 degrees at Narnaul, 1.6 degrees at Ambala, 2.4 degrees at Karnal and 5.1 degrees celsius at Hissar.

Cold wave persisted unabated in Himachal Pradesh with tribal areas experiencing extreme cold wave conditions. Kalpa in Kinnuar district recorded a night temperature of minus 10.0 degrees celsius.

Cold wave conditions prevailed in Mandi, Kullu and Kangra districts. Sundernagar in Mandi district recorded the minimum at minus 1.8 degrees while Bhuntar in Kullu district reported 1.8 degrees.

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