New Delhi, Feb 10 (UNI) The cold wave maintained an icy grip over North India as a woman was among the three people killed during the past 24 hours in Kashmir and Gujarat, taking the nationwide toll to 230 this winter.
The toll due to cold-related incidents stands at 141 in Uttar Pradesh, 33 in Jammu and Kashmir, 26 in Gujarat, 16 in Himachal Pradesh, four each in Bihar and Punjab, three in Maharashtra and one each in Bihar, Sikkim and Madhya Pradesh.
The icy winds led to a sharp drop in minimum temperature here from 9.4 degrees on Friday to 5.5 degrees. The maximum rose to 19.8 as against 18 degrees yesterday, still five degrees below normal. A shallow fog was also witnessed in the morning, leading to a slight drop in visibility levels to around 500 m, which improved soon to above 1000 m.
Kashmir valley experienced the coldest night last night after the temperature dipped significantly while base camp of Amarnath cave, Pahalgam, and Drass shivered at minus 14 degrees. It was here the woman died when she was buried alive under a huge avalanche at Nayal.
Meanwhile, one-way traffic was resumed on the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway which remained closed for six days due to seven foot snowfall and landslides triggered by rains.
In Gujarat, a 75-year-old farmer Goganbhai Punabhai Sagar was found dead at his farm in Lakhapadar village of Vadia Taluka in Amreli district.
The second death was reported from Dhoraji in Rajkot district, where Dhirubhai Makwana died at his residence due to the biting cold.
Amritsar recorded eight degrees below normal temperatures as the mercury dipped by two degrees at Hisar, Bhatinda and Shimla, three at Chandigarh and Narnaul, six at Karnal and four degrees at Ludhiana.
Adampur airbase of Punjab continued to be the coldest place with the minimum temperature recorded at 0.2 degrees celsius as against yesterday's 1.0 degrees celsius. In Amritsar, the minimum temperature dropped to 1.0 degree while at Halwara airbase near Ludhiana, the night temperature further plunged to 0.6 degree celsius as against yesterday's 2.4 degrees celsius. A piercing cold wave swept Chandigarh and its adjoining areas as the mercury stayed at three degrees below normal, recording the minimum at 4.6 degrees.
Himachal Pradesh was also under the impact of cold wave with extreme cold conditions prevailing in the state as Kalpa recorded minus 10 degrees, Una 0.3 degrees, Sundarnagar 1.0 degrees and Shimla recorded 1.3 degrees. The night temperature plummeted in the tourist town of Manali in Kullu district as it recorded minus 6.4 degrees celsius as against minus 2.0 recorded yesterday.
The minimum temperature also fell at a few places over coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rayalaseema. They were significantly above normal at one or two places. The lowest minimum temperature of 12 degrees was recorded at Adilabad. Elamanchili and Visakhaptnam recorded the heaviest rainfall of 12 cm each, followed by Ongole 11 cm, Anakapalle, Kaikalur nine cm each, Tuni eight cm, Bheemunipatnam seven cm.
Severe cold wave conditions prevailed in Saurashtra, Kutch, west Madhya Pradesh, some parts of Rajasthan, north Madhya Maharashtra and at isolated places in Gujarat.
Night temperatures were appreciably below normal in Bihar, west Uttar Pradesh, south Madhya Maharashtra, Vidarbha, some parts of Marathwada and remaining parts of east Uttar Pradesh. They were below normal in Uttarakhand and coastal Karnataka.
They were appreciably to markedly above normal in some parts of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and were above normal in some parts of Orissa, Rayalseema, south interior Karnataka and in remaining parts of Tamil Nadu. They were normal over the rest of the country.
Heavy rains occurred at most places in Tamil Nadu, Nagaland, Manipur Mizoram, Tripura, Orissa and at a few places in Arunachal Pradesh, Gangetic West Bengal, Rayalseema, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep and at isolated places in Assam, Meghalaya, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, south interior Karnataka and Kerala.
UNI Team SK PM2000