The cold wave sweeping the northern states tightened its grip on Wednesday with Delhi and other major cities recording lowest temperatures of the season and fog cover in isolated places in Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Haryana.
The national capital recorded the coldest day of the season, with the minimum temperature settling at 7 degrees Celsius, a notch below the normal. The maximum was recorded at 18 degrees Celsius, five notches below the normal, and the humidity levels oscillated between 97 and 61 per cent, the Meteorological Department said.
Schools in neighbouring Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar were ordered to remain closed on Thursday and Friday due to the cold weather.
The weatherman forecast partly cloudy skies with severe cold wave in the city for Thursday morning with shallow fog in various places. The maximum temperature is likely to hover around 19 degrees Celsius.
The maximum temperature in Chandigarh was recorded at 11.3 degrees Celsius, which was lower than that of Shimla, a weather office report said. It was the Union Territory's coldest day of the season so far.
In Punjab and Haryana, Narnaul and Faridkot were the coldest at 2.5 degrees Celsius and 3.6 degrees Celsius respectively, while Mount Abu in Rajasthan recorded a night temperature of 1.4 degrees Celsius.
In Jammu, night temperature plummeted to settle at 4.8 degrees Celsius, the season's lowest so far. There was moderate fog in the morning and the sun remained behind cloud cover for the second consecutive day.
The mercury is on a downward spiral across Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh over the past couple of days following heavy snowfall in the high altitude areas and Kashmir last week.
Srinagar was reeling under a low of minus 3.7 degrees Celsius -- 2.2 degrees below the season's average. The famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir was the coldest recorded place in the Valley with a low of minus 11.5 degrees Celsius.
The weather office said Pahalgam in south Kashmir was freezing at minus 10.3 degrees Celsius. Leh in Ladakh was the coldest recorded place in the two Union Territories with a low of minus 17.9 degrees Celsius.
In Jammu region, Bhaderwah town of Doda district, which experienced heavy snowfall on Friday, was the coldest recorded place at minus 3.2 degrees Celsius, followed by Banihal town at minus 0.6 degrees Celsus.
Katra in Reasi district, which serves as the base camp for pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine, also recorded the coldest night of the season at 4.6 degrees Celsius.
It was dry and cold in Himachal Pradesh as Manali, Sundernagar, Bhuntar, Keylong and Kalpa shivered at sub-zero temperatures, with the weatherman predicting heavy rain and snowfall in the next two-three days.
The coldest place in the state was Lahaul-Spiti's administrative centre Keylong at minus 13.8 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature in Kalpa in Kinnaur district was minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, followed by Manali in Kullu district at minus 2.8 degrees, Sundernagar in Mandi district at minus 0.5 degrees and Bhuntar in Mandi district at minus 0.4 degrees Celsius.
The minimum in Solan was 0.4 deg C, Chamba 0.6 deg C, Kufri 1.8 deg C, Dharamshala and Mandi 2.1 deg C each, Palampur 2.5 deg C, Dalhousie 3.1 deg C, Shimla 4 deg C, Hamirpur 5.2 deg C, Bilaspur 5.5 deg C, Una 5.6 deg C and Nahan 6.7 deg C.
The maximum and minimum temperatures dropped by several notches across Punjab and Haryana. Fog led to reduced visibility at several places, including Chandigarh, Ambala, Hisar, Karnal, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Bathinda.
Besides Narnaul, the minimum temperatures dropped at several places in Haryana. Hisar recorded a minimum temperature of 4.6 degrees Celsius, three notches below the normal, followed by Rohtak (6 deg C), Bhiwani (6.3 deg C) and Ambala (7.7 deg C).
In Punjab, Faridkot was the coldest at 3.6 degrees Celsius, followed by Bathinda (5.7 deg C), Adampur (6 deg C), Amritsar (6.4 deg C), Gurdaspur (7.1 deg C), Halwara (7.2 deg C), and Ludhiana (7.6 deg C).
In Rajasthan, Sikar was the coldest recorded place at 3.5 degrees Celsius, followed by Bhilwara at 3.7 degrees Celsius, the weather office said as it predicted cold conditions to continue till Thursday.
The minimum temperature in Chittorarh was 4 degrees Celsius, followed by Pilani (4.1 deg C), Churu ( 4.2 deg C), Kota (5.1 deg C), Jaipur (5.6 deg C), Dabok (6.2 deg C), Ganganagar (6.3 deg C), Jaisalmer (6.8 der C) and Barmer (8.5 deg C), the Meteorological Department said.
An India Meteorological Department bulletin said cold day conditions are likely over east Uttar Pradesh till Friday and in some parts of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, west Uttar Pradesh, north Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on Thursday.
It also predicted dense fog in isolated pockets over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, south Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, west Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim and Odisha in the morning hours.
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