India

14 people die of cold in UP as cold wave intensifies in north India

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TNN | Jan 1, 2013, 05.33 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The entire swath of north India, extending from Rajasthan to Bihar, experienced its worst winter temperatures in decades on Monday as at least 14 people died of cold in UP alone, pushing the death toll this season to around 100.

Met officials said three deaths each were reported from Jalaun and Bhadohi; two from Azamgarh, Bahraich and Shrawasti besides one each from Ghazipur and Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh that had reported maximum - 83 - cold-related deaths since early December. Two cold-related deaths have been reported from Punjab and one each from Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Minimum temperatures, however, rose by three to seven degree C in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bundelkhand. Muzaffarnagar was the coldest place in the state with a high of four degree C. A Met official said no significant change was predicted till Tuesday.

Both maximum and minimum temperatures were the lowest recorded this season in Delhi. The day temperature was seven degree below normal at 13.3 while the night temperature was 5.5 degree C.

Elsewhere in the region, thick fog disrupted normal life besides rail, road and air traffic. Over 2,000 passengers were affected as authorities cancelled all 17 flights from Chandigarh due to poor visibility. Most trains were running several hours behind schedule.

The sun shone briefly across Haryana and Punjab in the afternoon before fog enveloped the region again in the evening and dipped the mercury. Hisar was the coldest place in Haryana with a low of 2.2 deg C, four notches below normal. In Punjab, Amritsar was the coldest place with a high of 10 degree C. Chandigarh was a notch higher at 11.2 degree C.

In neighboring Himachal Pradesh, popular tourist destinations of Shimla and Manali experienced a pleasant and sunny day. But the minimum temperatures across most parts of the state dipped by several notches. Shimla's night temperature fell by 0.6 degree C.

Churu remained the coldest place in Rajasthan with a minimum temperature of 1.4 degree C. Jaipur experienced the coldest day of the season with a low of 6.1 degree C, two notches below normal. At least three flights were diverted to the pink city due to early morning fog in Delhi.

Met officials blamed winds blowing down from the ice-capped peaks of lower Himalayas for the dip in the mercury and said freezing weather is likely to continue for the next couple of days.

Intense cold conditions prevailed in most parts of Madhya Pradesh, where Amarkantak recorded a low of one degree C, while Pachmarhi shivered just two degrees above the freezing point.

Widespread snowfall was forecasted for most parts of the Kashmir Valley on the New Year eve. The Valley has so far been witnessing unusual sunny weather.

Kargil was the coldest place in the state with a low of minus 15.4 degree C.