The intense cold wave sweeping northern India froze parts of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar, where the minimum temperature further dropped to -6.3C, as dense fog forced the Railways to cancel 22 north-bound trains. A Met department official said in Srinagar that the city clocked the season's lowest temperature last night as cold wave continued its record breaking spree. It was the fourth straight night when the minimum temperature settled at -6.0C or below. Kargil town, in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, at - 23.6C and the nearby Leh town at -17.4C also experienced the season's coldest night. Several water bodies, including the Dal Lake, in the state partially froze and water pipes burst in many areas, disrupting supply to residents. Frequent power outages lasting up to 18 hours in rural areas only added to the discomfort. Kashmir is now under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' a 40- day harshest period of winter - which ends on January 31.
The cold wave, however, continues even after that in the valley. Due to the dense fog sweeping northen India, 22 north India-bound trains were cancelled, three rescheduled and 49 were running late this morning, a Railways official said. In Himachal Pradesh, the Met office said the intense cold wave sweeping parts of the state, particularly the hills, would continue for three days. The dry spell, making apple growers anxious, would also continue until Jan. 16, it said. Shimla and Dharamsala, however, were warmer today and recorded minimum temperatures of 7.8C and 5.4C respectively. Delhi got a slight respite from the biting cold as the minimum temperature rose to 6.8C from yesterday's 4.2C. The sun shone bright and the maximum temperature settled at 23.4C, three notches above the average, a MeT department official said in New Delhi. But the cold wave swept through most places in Punjab and Haryana. Adampur town in Jalandhar district was the coldest place in the two states at 0.6C. Chandigarh, the joint capital of the two states, shivered at 4.8C, a degree below the normal, the MeT office there said. Narnaul and Karnal in Haryana braved cold conditions at 2.5C and 2.2C respectively, up to five notches below the normal. In Punjab, Amritsar experienced bone-chilling weather at 2.4C, while Ludhiana and Patiala shivered at 7.4C and 6C. In Uttar Pradesh, dense fog and cold wave continued to hit normal life, prompting the state government to take steps to ensure that the poor do not suffer because of the weather. The district magistrates have been directed to monitor blanket distribution, bonfire arrangements and condition of night shelters over next two days, a government spokesperson said. The MeT office in Lucknow said dense to very dense fog enveloped a few places in eastern Uttar Pradesh and isolated places in the western part of the state. The night temperature was markedly below the normal in Moradabad, Faizabad, Allahabad, Lucknow divisions and below the normal in Kanpur, Bareilly and Meerut divisions. Muzaffarnagar recorded the lowest minimum temperature in the state at 2.2C. In Rajasthan, Fatehpur Shekawati recorded the season's lowest at - 1.2C, followed by Sikar at 0.5C, a MeT department official said in Jaipur. According to the North-Western Railways, several trains were running late in the state. "New Jalpaiguri-Udaipur Express was delayed by 22 hours 15 minutes, Sealdaah-Ajmer by 14 hours 20 minutes, Hyderabad-Ajmer by 8 hours 40 minutes," a Railways spokesperson said.
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