Icy cold wave holds sway over North India: toll 202

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New Delhi, Feb 5 (UNI) As the nationwide toll in the cold wave climbed to 202, chilly winds continued to sweep many areas in northwest India today following another spell of snowfall and rain in Himachal Pradesh with dense fog hampering road and air traffic in the plains.

The toll due to the cold wave now stands at 141 in Uttar Pradesh, 23 in Jammu and Kashmir, 15 in Gujarat, ten in Himachal Pradesh, four each in Bihar and Punjab, three in Maharashtra and one each in Bihar and Sikkim.

Many areas in the Northwest region were shrouded in a thick fog, reducing the visibility considerably thereby slowing down the traffic.

All aero flights bound for Chandigarh were cancelled due to bad weather in the union territory.

While the night temperatures rose at many places in Punjab, the minimum dipped to 2.1 degrees at Amritsar, turning the holy city as the coldest place in the plains, followed by Bhatinda registering 3.8 degrees.

However, the mercury increased at Ludhiana, Patiala, Halwara and Pathankot, respectively recording the lowest temperatures at 5.1, 7.7, 6.4 and 9.6 degrees.

In Haryana, the minimum rose to 4.9 at Narnaul, 6.3 at Ambala, 6.7 at Hissar and 7.4 degrees at Karnal.

Tribal districts of Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur and Pangi and Bharmour areas in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh had a moderate to heavy snowfall last night, intensifying cold wave in the tribal belt.

Snowfall was also reported from upper areas of Shimla district, including tourist resorts of Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda. The mercury dipped to 0.1 degrees in Shimla. Lower areas of Himachal Pradesh had a widespread rain.

A red alert has been sounded in the Kashmir valley after snow avalanche damaged a police barrack at Jawahar tunnel and some Gujjar huts in Waltengu Nar following heavy snowfall.

Official sources said a police barrack near Jawahar tunnel on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was buried under a huge snow avalanche this morning. However, no casualty was reported. Traffic on the highway remained suspended for the second day. The inbound and outbound flights were also cancelled due to heavy snowfall.

It was heavily snowing at Jawahar tunnel, Banihal, Qazigund and Patnitop where one feet to three feet had accumulated since last evening.

A Vaishno Devi pilgrim died of cold while on his way to the shrine in Holy Katra town of Reasi district in Jammu and kashmir, official sources said.

Barring few places in western and eastern Uttar Pradesh, an increase in temperature gave some respite to the people from the biting cold weather prevailing in the state over the last few days.

The temple town of Varanasi and Allahabad registered 14.2 degrees, followed by Jhansi at 11.6, Kanpur 11.4, Behraich 11.3, Bareilly 10.6, Lucknow 10.4 and Agra at 9 degrees. Meerut stood the coldest at 6.4 degrees.

In Bihar a 35 year old rickshaw puller died of biting cold at the city's Kankarbagh area last night.

Severe cold wave conditions prevailed in some parts of Gujarat and at isolated places in north Madhya Maharashtra. Cold wave conditions prevailed in some parts of Rajasthan, west Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Maharashtra and at isolated places in Assam, Meghalaya and Punjab. Cold day conditions prevailed in Konkan.

Rain or thundershowers have occurred at a few places in Chattisgarh and at isolated places in Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Orissa, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rayalseema, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Mainly dry weather prevailed over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Gujarat, Konkan, Goa, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Karnataka and Lakshadweep.

UNI TEAM BDP VC1939

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