A cold wave swept across north India with the mercury plummeting to minus 11 degrees in Jammu and Kashmir’s Drass making it colder than Novosibirsk, capital of Siberia which was 3 degrees below zero on Saturday (December 14).
Due to unexpected rainfalls in parts of northern India, MeT department officials predict temperatures to fall by at least four to five percent by Sunday (December 15).
“The cold wave will see mercury dipping in Delhi up to nine degrees Celsius on Saturday (December 14) and by another two to three degrees by Sunday (December 15),” said RK Jenamani, senior scientist, National Weather Forecasting Centre, New Delhi.
The weather department has issued an orange warning for Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir for the next two days, predicting very heavy snowfall and rain due to western disturbance.
The Valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the third consecutive day as heavy snowfall forced the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, air service was also suspended. J&K’s capital Srinagar recorded minus 3 degrees which is 8 degrees colder than London. Heavy snowfall in the city has also led the Airports Authority of India to suspend air traffic for the seventh consecutive day.
Meanwhile, Delhi recorded its highest rainfall in December in the last 22 years, with the capital receiving 33.5 mm rain in the last 24 hours. Jenamani said flights were diverted due to sudden rainfall and high-velocity winds. “From 8 PM to 10:30 PM yesterday (December 12), we recorded sudden rainfall due to which we had to divert 47 flights due to the sudden wind gust reaching up to 58 kmph,” he said.
Hemkund in Uttrakhand at -12 degrees was 10 degrees colder than Russia’s capital Moscow which recorded a minimum temperature of -2 degrees.
“Very heavy snowfall has been reported in all parts of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand, including Mussorie and Nainital and is likely to continue till December 16,” Jenamani said.
The cold wave and rains forced authorities in Uttrakhand to keep schools in most parts of the hill state closed.
Adampur and Ludhiana in Punjab shivered on Wednesday, recording below normal minimum temperatures as cold weather continued to prevail in the state and neighbouring Haryana. The two cities recorded a low of 3.4 degrees and 3.8 degrees Celsius respectively. Amritsar in Punjab recorded a minimum temperature of 5 degrees Celsius.