Several parts of north India shivered at sub zero temperatures on Friday as the India Meteorological Department said the trend will continue over the next week and a slight relief can be expected only a week later. As winter chill gripped the plains, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said night temperatures would continue to be below normal in north India over the next week.
In its forecast from December 17-24 and from December 24-30, the IMD said the minimum temperatures would be below normal by 2-6 degrees Celsius over most parts of northwest, central and east India. Near normal or slightly above normal temperatures are likely over remaining parts of the country during the first week.
Cold wave to severe cold wave conditions would occur in some pockets over Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, west Uttar Pradesh and north Rajasthan during the first half of the first week and decrease thereafter, the IMD said. The minimum temperature dropped below the three degrees Celsius mark in parts of the national capital as frosty winds from snow-covered Western Himalayas continued to sweep the city.
The minimum temperature dropped below the three degrees Celsius-mark in parts of Delhi as frosty winds from snow-covered Western Himalayas continue to sweep the national capital, the India Meteorological Department said. The mercury plunged to 2.7 degrees Celsius at Jafarpur. It settled at 3.5 degrees Celsius and 3.8 degrees Celsius at Ayanagar and Lodhi Road weather stations, the IMD said.
The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded a minimum of 4.4 degrees Celsius. The maximum, however, rose to 19.8 degrees Celsius. The city had recorded a "severe" cold day on Thursday as the maximum temperature dropped to 15.2 degrees Celsius, seven notches below normal and the lowest this season so far.
A "cold day" is when the minimum temperature is less than 10 degrees Celsius and the maximum is at least 4.4 degrees Celsius below normal. A "severe" cold day is when the maximum temperature is at least 6.5 notches below normal. "Cold wave" conditions are predicted in Delhi on Saturday and the cold spell is likely to continue till Monday, the IMD said.
For the plains, the IMD declares a cold wave when the minimum temperature is 10 degrees Celsius or below and is 4.5 notches less than normal for two consecutive days. However, for small areas such as Delhi, a cold wave can be declared if the criteria is fulfilled even for a day, officials said.
Kashmir continued to reel under freezing night temperature on Friday even as there was a marginal increase in the minimum temperature in Srinagar city and Gulmarg tourist resort, the meteorological department said. Srinagar - the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir - and the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir were the only places in the Valley where the night temperature improved Thursday night, it said.
According to MeT, all the other weather stations across the Valley registered a further decrease in the minimum temperature. Srinagar recorded a low of minus 6.0 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night's minus 6.4 degrees Celsius which was the coldest night of the season.
The mercury in Gulmarg settled at a low of minus 10.6 degrees Celsius, up from minus 11.0 degrees Celsius. The resort continued to be the coldest recorded place in the Union territory. The MeT office said while no major snowfall is expected till the end of this month in the UT, there is a possibility of light to moderate snowfall during December 21-22 at isolated places of Kashmir.
The cold wave sweeping Punjab and Haryana also intensified, with Amritsar reeling at 0.4 degrees Celsius, the meteorological department said. The minimum temperature in Amritsar was recorded three notches below the normal, it said.
Ludhiana and Patiala, also in Punjab, recorded their respective minimums at 3.2 degrees Celsius and 4.1 degrees Celsius, both down by three notches. Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, recorded a low of 4.4 degrees Celsius, two notches below the normal.
In Haryana, Narnaul was the coldest at 1.5 degrees Celsius, four notches below normal limits. Intense cold wave conditions threw normal life out of gear in Rajasthan where the mercury dipped to minus 2.5 degrees Celsius in Mount Abu.
Churu was the coldest place in the plains with a minimum temperature of minus 0.3 degrees, according to the meteorological department. The night temperature at other places in the state was below 7 degrees Celsius as many areas reeled under 'cold wave' to 'severe cold wave' in the night.
Sikar, Pilani, Bhilwara, Vanasthali, Chittorgarh and Bikaner recorded a minimum of 1 degree, 1.5 degrees, 2.1 degrees, 2.7 degrees, 3.5 degrees and 4.3 degrees Celsius, respectively, it said. Cold to severe cold conditions occurred at a few places in western Uttar Pradesh and at isolated pockets in eastern part of the state in the last 24 hours.
Dense fog and cold to severe cold condition occurred at isolated places in west and east UP, the MeT department said. At 3 degrees Celsius, Fursatganj (Raebareilly) emerged as the coldest place in the northern state, while Jhansi registered the highest temperature at 23.1 degrees Celsius. Keylong, Kalpa and Manali continued to shiver at sub zero temperatures in Himachal Pradesh in the last 24 hours, it said.
The tribal district Lahaul-Spiti's administrative centre Keylong continued to be the coldest place in the state at minus 10 degrees Celsius, Meteorological Centre Shimla Director Manmohan Singh said. Several parts of Madhya Pradesh in central India also experienced biting cold following a dip in mercury.
The IMD's six out of 30 stations in Madhya Pradesh recorded a drop in mercury ranging between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius in the last 24 hours, senior meteorologist GD Mishra told PTI. In areas covered by IMD's 23 stations, minimum temperatures hovered between 3 and 10 degrees Celsius during the same period.
Mishra said the lowest minimum temperature of 3 degrees Celsius was recorded at Datia, while the same in the state capital Bhopal was 7.4 degrees Celsius.