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North India freezes, Delhi coldest in 43 years (Roundup)

New Delhi,Environment/Wildlife, Wed, 02 Jan 2013 IANS

New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) It was a bitterly cold Wednesday in north India with maximum temperature in the national capital breaking 43-year record as the maximum temperature was a mere 9.8 degrees Celsius, 11 notches below normal.

The day began chilly and foggy in Delhi with minimum temperature two notches below average at 4.8 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature was recorded 11 notches below average. It was this cold the last time in 1969.

The cold wave also pulled temperatures way below zero in Kashmir and Himachal and the fog hit air, train and road traffic in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.

A Met Department official in mountainous Jammu and Kashmir said minimum temperature fell to minus 3.9 degrees in Srinagar, minus 7.7 degrees in Pahalgam and minus 9.2 degrees in Gulmarg.

But the coldest town was Leh at minus 16.2 degrees Celsius. Kargil recorded minus 14.8 degrees.

The conditions would only get worse Thursday before an improvement in night temperatures from Friday.

Himachal Pradesh, the other mountainous state, was sunny but the cold was biting.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti was the coldest place in the state with minimum temperature at minus 8.9 degrees Celsius, a Met official said.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district saw a low of minus 3.6 degrees and Manali minus three degrees. Dharamsala was 4.6 degrees.

The minimum temperature was 2.1 degrees Celsius in state capital Shimla, down from Tuesday's 4.8 degrees.

The weather would remain dry till Saturday, said the official.

Despite a sunny day, the plains of Uttar Pradesh too continued to reel under extreme cold wave conditions.

The Met department said inclement weather would continue for most part of the week, and there are good chances that fog may reappear.

Banda, Sonebhadra, Bhadohi, Rampur and Etawah were worst-hit by the cold wave with day temperatures slipping down to around 17 degrees Celsius and night temperatures hovering between four and five degrees.

In state capital Lucknow, the lowest temperature since Tuesday was 4.3 degrees while the maximum was 17 degrees.

The onset of north-westerly winds was likely to bring back the chill, a Met official said.

Rail, road and air traffic continued to be hit by fog and more than a dozen trains were running hours behind schedule.

The Shatabdi Express between Delhi and Lucknow was running late by more than four hours.

In Haryana, Narnaul recorded 2.4 degrees Celsius, making it the coldest place in the region.

The fog in Punjab and Haryana delayed road, rail and air traffic at most places.

Chandigarh recorded a high of 11.3 and low of 4.2 degrees Celsius while Bhiwani and Hisar in Haryana recorded lows of 3.6 and 4 degrees Celsius.

Punjab's Patiala town recorded a low of 5.5 degrees Celsius while Amritsar and Ludhiana were at 7.2 and seven degrees Celsius.

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