Winter chill returns, two more die of cold in UP

New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) Winter chill returned today inmost of the northern states as the cold wave pushed mercury torecord lows in Shimla and Pahalgam and claimed two more livesin Uttar Pradesh.

Two more persons died -- one each from Hardoi andDeoria -- in Uttar Pradesh, taking the death toll in the statethis winter to 132, officials said.

Winds brought back chill in the air in the nationalcapital with the day temperature dropping to 18.2 deg C, threedegrees below normal, from yesterday''s 21.3 deg C.

The Kashmir Valley was gripped by an intense cold wavewith temperature coming down to a record low of minus 16.1 degC in Pahalgam resort, resulting in partial freezing of Dallake and other water bodies in the state, a Met official said.

Pahalgam in south Kashmir recorded its coldest nightof this winter as mercury plunged by nearly 14 degrees sincethe previous night.

Gulmarg in north Kashmir also saw a sharp dip inminimum temperature as mercury fell to 14.2 deg below freezingpoint compared to yesterday''s minus 10.6 deg C.

Srinagar also saw the night temperature settle atminus 3.7 deg C. Kupwara froze at minus 8.1 deg C, whileQazigund recorded a minimum of minus 7.6 deg C.

However, residents of Ladakh, which is the coldestregion in the state, got some respite from the cold wave asnight temperature increased by a couple of degrees in both Lehand Kargil district town headquarters.

While Kargil recorded a minimum of minus 13.4 deg Ccompared to yesterday''s minus 16.4 deg C, Leh had a nighttemperature of minus 8.0 deg C -- 1.4 deg C higher than thelast night.

The sudden plunge in the minimum temperature acrossthe Valley was due to the heavy snowfall on Friday, which hadbrought the minimum temperature close to freezing point.

After three days of rain and snow, weather in HimachalPradesh cleared today but blocked roads and sub-zerotemperatures in higher reaches affected normal life.

All roads beyond Shimla were blocked due to heavysnow, while traffic to Manali, Dharamshala and Chail wasdisrupted because of slippery roads.

Shimla experienced its coldest night in four yearswith mercury settling at minus 3.3 deg C, five notches belownormal.

The tourist resorts of Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda werecovered under a thick snow blanket with Solang ski slopesreceiving 120cm to 150cm of snow.

Lahual and Spiti and Pangi Valleys reeled underextreme cold conditions with mercury settling between minus 17and minus 23 deg C. In Keylong and Kalpa, the minimum wasminus 12.7 and minus 9 deg C, respectively.

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The minimum temperature in most parts of Punjab and Haryana plummeted by upto three deg C, throwing normal lifeout of gear.

Amritsar was the coldest in the plains of Punjab andHaryana, with the minimum temperature in most parts of the twostates falling by upto three deg C, throwing normal life outof gear.

Amritsar was the coldest in the plains of Punjab andHaryana, with a low of 0.6 deg C, which was three notchesbelow normal. While the low in Hisar settled at 4.4 deg C, twonotches below normal, the minimum temperature at Chandigarhwas 4.7 deg C.

Meanwhile, foggy conditions returned to the region asdense fog threw normal life out of gear at several places,including Rohtak, Karnal, Ludhiana, Patiala and Amritsar.

Chittorgarh was the coldest place in Rajasthan with aminimum temperature of 2.5 deg C, a Met official said.

Churu and Sriganganagar recorded a low of 2.6 and 2.9deg C respectively, while Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaipurrecorded a night temperature of 3.1, 4.2 and 4.5 deg C,respectively.

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