Cold wave continues unabated; death toll reaches 225

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New Delhi, Feb 9 (UNI) The severe cold wave sweeping Gujarat claimed two more lives taking the nationwide death toll to 225 as people continued to shiver under biting cold in north-west India with mercury plunging three to six degrees C below normal in the plains.

A female shelterless beggar died of severe cold in Junagadh city, while a youth died in Suvai village of Kutch district yesterday, police said.

Jamnagar experienced the coldest day in the past seventeen years, with mercury plumetting to five degrees while Nalia in Kutch district recorded a minimum temperature of 1.4 degrees, Rajkot 5.3, Porbandar 6.4, Bhuj 8.

The toll due to cold-related incidents stands at 141 in Uttar Pradesh, 32 in Jammu and Kashmir, 22 in Gujarat, 16 in Himachal Pradesh, four each in Bihar and Punjab, three in Maharashtra and one each in Bihar, Sikkim and Madhya Pradesh.

Mumbai, which experienced the coldest day in the past 46 years recording a minimum temperature at 8.5 degrees, was 'warmer' by 0.1 degrees with a minimum temperature of 8.6 degrees.

The weather office has said that the cold wave is likely to continue for the next two to three days.

Icy cold winds continued to lend chill to the air in Delhi with the cold Northwesterly winds leading to a sharp drop in minimum temperature to 5.6 degrees C, three degrees below normal.

The weatherman has forecast a drop in minimum temperature in the city to four degrees tomorrow.

Himachal Pradesh was also under the impact of cold wave with extreme cold conditions prevailing in tribal areas in the wake of fresh snowfall in the higher reaches. The mercury further dipped at Kalpa in tribal Kinnaur district, recording minus 7.2 degrees.

Tourist place of Manali in Kullu district recorded minus 2.0 degrees while Mandi showed 0.3 degrees, Sundernagar 1.6 degrees, Una 1.8 degrees and Bhuntar 3.6 degrees. The mercury hovered at minus 1.2 degrees at Shimla which experienced rain overnight. The sky remained partially cloudy in the capital town during the day.

Spine-chilling cold wave lashed Punjab with Amritsar recording the minimum at 0.1 degrees, follwed by Adampur registering 1.0 degree, Halwara 2.4 degrees, Bathinda 2.8 degrees, Pathankot 3.0 degrees, Patiala 3.9 degrees and Ludhiana 4.0 degrees Celsius.

In Haryana, the minimum dipped to 3.0 degrees at Ambala, 3.2 degrees at Karnal and 4.3 degrees at Hissar.

Chandigarh recorded the minimum at 4.2 degrees as against 7.6 degrees yesterday.

Jammu and Kashmir continued to reel under severe cold wave with Srinagar recording minus 3.4 degrees while Jammu registered 3.2 degrees, six degrees below normal.

The Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the sixth day following closure of the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway due to snow avalanches and landslides.

About 1,000 vehicles, including those carrying essential commodities and passengers, were stranded at different places on the highway.

The mercury increased further to 15.5 degree in Patna this morning bringing the winter to a halt.

Severe cold wave conditions prevailed in Saurashtra, Kutch and Madhya Maharashtra, and at isolated places in east Rajasthan.

Cold wave conditions prevailed in west Rajasthan, some parts of Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and at isolated places in north Konkan.

Cold weather conditions also prevailed in remaining parts of Konkan and Goa.

Night temperatures were appreciably below normal in Vidarbha and in some parts of west Uttar Pradesh and coastal Karnataka, and were below normal in some parts of east Uttar Pradesh and Marathwada.

Night temperatures were appreciably to markedly above normal in West Bengal, Sikkim, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and in some parts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. They were above normal in some parts of Assam, Meghalaya and in remaining parts of Tamil Nadu.

UNI TEAM MS RAI1846

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