Cold snap toll reaches 40

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TNN | Dec 28, 2012, 02.03 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The death toll from cold snap in north India has mounted to at least 40 with the maximum deaths due to it — 13 — reported from Uttar Pradesh since Wednesday.

Police said three people died in Barabanki, while two each in Bijnore, Sultanpur and Chandauli. One death was reported from Gazipur, Baghpat, Banda and Sonebhadra.

Reports said distribution of blankets and other arrangements at government-run shelter homes for the homeless across the state were unable to meet the rising demands, leaving lakhs defenceless under the open sky. This has led to rise in the toll.

A Met official said thick fog blanketing large parts of the region disrupted normal life besides rail, road and air traffic. Five people were killed and three injured as a bus collided with an SUV near Narnaul in Haryana on Wednesday night due to low visibility.

This is the third major fog-related accident in Haryana this season. Eight people were killed near Narwana in Jind district 10 days back while a district judge had died in an accident near the same place on December 5.

Low visibility led to cancellation of all flights from Chandigarh for the fourth day and two from Lucknow on Thursday. Most trains in the region were running five to 20 hours behind schedule.

The fog has worsened the cold across the region. In Uttar Pradesh, where most places are recording temperatures 7-10 degrees below normal, Agra was the coldest place. The city of Taj shivered at just two degrees above the freezing point. Lucknow and Kanpur recorded a low of 3.1 degree C, as icy winds continued to blow across the state.

A Met official said there is going to be little respite as northwesterly winds from snowbound areas of northern India will continue to blow across the state till Friday. The day temperatures would continue to be low for sometime, while the mercury is likely to creep up during nights in the next two to three days.

In Haryana, Narnaul continued to remain the coldest place with a minimum temperature of 2.2 degree C. Hisar recorded a low of 3.5 degree C, three degrees below normal. But Chandigarh recorded a minimum of 9.4 degree C, three notches above normal.

In Punjab, Amritsar was coldest with a low of 6.8 degree C.

In the neighboring Himachal Pradesh, Manali received heavy while Kullu, Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, Shimla, Chamba and Kangra received light snowfall on Thursday much to the delight of tourists, who have flocked the hill stations ahead of the New Year eve. Snowfall around Rohtang pass has led to the closure of roads to Manali and Keylong.

Kashmir Valley is witnessing unusually sunny weather, but the night temperature continues to remain several degrees below the freezing point. Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of minus 2.9 degree.

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

(With agency inputs)