Snow, rains bring down mercury in N India

New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) Snowfall in hill states andrainfall in parts of north India brought significant declinein temperatures across the region with thick fog disruptingflight operations today in the national capital.

Himachal Pradesh witnessed moderate to heavy snowfallwith mercury dipping to sub-zero levels at many places. The''Queen of Hills'' Shimla, which received 5 cm of fresh snow,registered a low of 0.6 degree C and a high of 8 deg C.

Winter sports enthusiasts were in for a treat asSolang Ski slopes received 40 to 70 cm of snowfall, whilefamous tourist resort Manali experienced 35 cm of snowfall.

The Jakoo peek and adjoining resorts of Kufri and Faguwere covered by 10 to 15 cm of fresh snow.

Higher reaches of the state continued to experiencesnowfall for the sixth day, with Keylong in Lahaul and Spitidistrict receiving 20 cm of white flakes. Kalpa in nearbyKinnaur district was covered under 50 cm thick white blanket.

Mid and lower hills of the state received widespreadrainfall with Jogindernagar in Mandi district being thewettest place, receiving 23 mm of rain.

Cold snap continued in neighbouring Uttarakhanddespite bright sunshine today as overnight snowfall and rainin parts of the state kept mercury below normal. Masoorireceived season''s first snowfall bringing cheers to tourists.

Almora, Chamoli, Pithoragarh, Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi,Nainital also witnessed snowfall. State capital Dehradunsettled at 7 deg C in night, while in day mercury climbed to21 deg C.

According to MeT department, there are also reports ofslight snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir. The pre-dawn reading inSrinagar was 2 deg C, while during the day mercury rose to 8deg C.

Weathermen have predicted more snow and rains in thethree hill states tomorrow.

In Delhi, thick fog blanket covered the city in themorning and mercury dipped below normal to settle at 9.8degree Celsius, three deg less than yesterday''s reading. Windbrought chill, despite a bright sunshine during the day.

Dense fog enveloped the IGI airport in the earlyhours, delaying over 20 flights and leading to diversion of 10others. Fog started to descend on the airport after midnightand become dense at around 4 am, forcing the authorities toimplement the low visibility procedures on both the runways.

The day temperature was recorded at 21.3 degreeCelsius, a notch below normal.

The city also witnessed mild showers measuring 0.2 mmsince last night. MeT officials forecast a mainly clear skytomorrow, while the temperatures are expected to be between 8and 22 deg Celsius. (More) PTI TEAM

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