Temp drops below zero at several places in north; no respite for next two days

Union territories of Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir besides states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Haryana have been the worst affected

A train approaches a railway station amid dense fog during a cold winter day, in Patiala. | Pic: PTI

The mercury dropped to almost zero degrees Celsius on Sunday night (December 19) as a strong cold wave gripped several north India states.

Union territories of Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir besides states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Haryana were the worst affected. In Churu (Rajasthan), the minimum temperature dropped to – 2.6 degrees Celsius, which was the lowest in northwest India. Sikar (- 2.5 degrees Celsius) and Amritsar (-0.5 degrees Celsius) were the other coldest places in the north-west.

In Delhi, the lowest temperature on Sunday stood at 4.6 degrees Celsius – the lowest for the season so far. The day temperature is likely to be around 19 degrees Celsius while the night temperature would hover around 4 degrees. IMD Director General RK Jenamani said the national capital may experience a drizzle on December 24 or 25.

The IMD has issued a yellow alert (extremely bad weather) for Delhi and Uttarakhand till December 21. Besides, parts of north Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, north Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh till will remain under the grip of a strong cold wave for the next tow days.

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Foggy conditions are expected in Uttarakhand, Himachal, Punjab, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura till December 21.

According to IMD, “very dense” fog is when visibility is between 0 and 50 metres, 51 and 200 is “dense”, 201 and 500 “moderate”, and 501 and 1,000 metres “shallow”.

In the plains, the IMD declares a cold wave if the minimum temperature dips to 4 degrees Celsius. A cold wave is also declared when the minimum temperature is 10 degrees Celsius or below and is 4.5 notches less than normal.

In a “severe” cold wave, the minimum temperature dips to two degrees Celsius or the departure from normal is more than 6.4 degrees Celsius.

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