Intense cold claims 13 lives in North India

New Delhi: Thirteen more people perished in Uttar Pradesh as the intense cold wave sweeping north India maintained its grip over the region with the national capital witnessing the coldest day of the season.

With the fresh deaths, the toll due to cold conditions in Uttar Pradesh has reached 81 this season.

While five people died in Maharajganj district, four deaths were reported in Barabanki. One person each died in Deoria, Firozabad, Hardoi and Ballia due to cold since yesterday, official sources said.

Agra recorded the lowest temperature in the state at 0.6 degrees Celsius, which were six notches below normal.

The state capital Lucknow recorded a minimum of 3.4 deg C, four degrees below normal, whereas Varanasi registered a low of 5 deg C, three notches below normal.

Icy winds on a sunless Sunday exposed Delhiites to the coldest day of this winter with maximum temperature sliding to 11 degrees Celsius while a dense fog jettisoned travel plans of several air and rail passengers.

Today`s maximum was ten degrees below normal for this period of time and down by 1.14 degrees from yesterday`s 12.4 deg C. The night temperature marginally improved to five degrees Celsius, two degrees below normal, from 4.3 degrees the previous day.

Dense fog hit flight operations at the IGI airport as schedule of over 40 domestic and international flights were affected. 70 trains were also delayed and nine cancelled during the day.

Leh and Kargil districts in the frontier region of Ladakh were the coldest places in Jammu and Kashmir, with both registering a minimum of minus 13.0 degrees Celsius.

Srinagar witnessed a slight increase with the minimum temperature settling at minus 0.1 as against minus 0.4 deg C yesterday.

The famous hill resort of Pahalgam was the coldest place in the Valley, recording a low of minus 9.0 deg C, while Gulmarg skiing resort recorded a minimum of minus 7.7 deg C.

The night temperature at Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir, fell further to minus 2.0 deg C.

High altitude areas in the Valley have received light snowfall over the past two days, much to the delight of winter sports lovers.

Mercury dropped by a few notches in mid and lower hills in Himachal Pradesh as icy winds swept the region, affecting normal life. The `Queen of Hills`, Shimla, recorded a low of 1.0 deg C, two degree below normal.

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