New snowfall in HP, J&K, Uttarakhand; marginal increase in temperature in the northern plains

NEW DELHI: Several areas in Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir received fresh snowfall on Saturday when mercury rose marginally across the plains of northern India, which had been under a strong cold wave for more than two weeks.

Popular tourist destinations Shimla and Manali in Himachal Pradesh he witnessed the first snow of 2020, which applauded tourists and hoteliers alike, while cold conditions persisted in the northern plains despite a marginal increase in temperature.

The national capital registered a minimum of 8 degrees Celsius on Saturday morning, a notch above average, said the Department of Meteorology of India (IMD).

The maximum temperature was recorded at 21.6 degrees Celsius, two notches above average. The minimum temperature is expected to rise further in the next two or three days, the meteorologist said.

The level of contamination was recorded at 346 (very unhealthy) at 6.36 pm in the city.

Several tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh were shaking at freezing temperatures, Shimla MeT Center Director Manmohan Singh said.

Manali in Kullu district received snowfall on Saturday morning, whereas state capital Shimla witnessed snowfall in the afternoon.

Light snowfall (0.2 cm) occurred in Kalpa in tribal Kinnaur district, whereas some parts of the state, including Bhuntar (7.8 mm), Seobagh (6.2 mm) and Manali (1 mm), received rain, he added. Keylong recorded the lowest temperature in the state at minus 10.5 degrees Celsius.

Kalpa registered a low of minus 3 degrees Celsius, while Manali and Dalhousie shivered at minus 1.2 and minus 0.6 degree Celsius, respectively, Singh said. The minimum temperature in Shimla, Solan and Dharamshala was 0.7, 2 and 2.8 degrees Celsius respectively, he said.

Many parts of Kashmir received fresh snowfall on Saturday, which caused an increase in the minimum temperature that relieved people of the conditions of intense cold.

A MeT official said the weather would generally remain cloudy in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the territories of the Ladakh Union.

"Light snowfall of two to five inches occurred at many places of Kashmir, hilly areas of Jammu and on the higher reaches of Ladakh," he said.

A spell of widespread light to moderate snowfall is likely to occur during January 6 to 7 evening, he said.

The official said the new snowfall brought some relief to Valley residents from the intense cold conditions, as the night temperature showed an improvement.

The city of Srinagar recorded a minimum of minus 0.1 degrees Celsius on Friday night, more than three degrees above minus 3.7 degrees Celsius the previous night.

The official said the Gulmarg ski resort in northern Kashmir registered a minimum of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius, two degrees more than last night.

The night temperature at Pahalgam resort settled at a low of minus 2.5 degrees Celsius, over seven degrees up from minus 10.0 degrees Celsius Thursday night, he said.

The mercury in Leh in Ladakh settled at a low of minus 18.3 degrees Celsius, he said.

The highest reaches of the Uttarakhand hills, including Chardham, received heavy snowfall, while the lower areas were hit by rain and hail.

The Gangotri and Yamunotri temples in Uttarkashi district, Kedarnath in Rudraprayag besides Badrinath in Chamoli district received heavy snowfall in the afternoon and were covered under thick layers of snow, Disaster Management Officials said.

Harsil, Sukki, Mukhwa, Jankichatti and Kharsali in the Uttarkashi district also received snow.

Snowfall in the upper reaches and rain, along with hail in places in the lower areas, led to a sharp drop in temperatures.

and the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary in the Chamoli district also put white layers of snow.

The state capital, Dehradun, was also ravaged by rain along with the afternoon hail that intensified the cold.

Mukteshwar recorded a minimum of -1.2 degree Celsius, followed by New Tehri at 1.2 deg Celsius, Pantnagar at 6.5 degree C and Dehradun at 7.3 degree Celsius, the MeT office said.

Punjab and Haryana fought cold-wave conditions on Saturday, with Faridkot being the coldest place in the two states at 3.6 degrees Celsius.

Among other places in Punjab, Patiala, Amritsar, Ludhiana shuddered at 4.8, 4.6, 4.5 degrees Celsius respectively.

In Haryana, Karnal and Ambala recorded their respective minimums at 6.8 and 4.5 degrees Celsius.

Hisar shivered at 3.8 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal.

The Chandigarh Union Territory, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, recorded its minimum of 6.7 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal.

Rajasthan continued to stagger under cold weather conditions with the city of Fatehpur in the Sikar district being the coldest place in the state registering a minimum of 3.4 degrees Celsius.

The severe cold continued in most of Uttar Pradesh with the state capital Lucknow witnessing partly cloudy skies on Saturday morning.

The MeT office said Muzaffarnagar with 5 degrees Celsius was the coldest place in the state, followed by Fatehgarh, which recorded the minimum temperature of 5.9 degrees Celsius.

In Odisha, the IMD predicted the return of the cold wave in the next two days, as many places throughout the state experienced showers and thunderstorms since Friday.

"There will be rainfall at isolated places in the entire coastal belt and one or two places in the districts of Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Balangir, Keonjhar, Sonepur, Angul, Dhenkanal and Bargarh on Saturday" the IMD said.