Weather: North India in grip of a severe cold wave

Heightened political activity in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh over the weekend failed to put a stopple on the intense cold wave sweeping parts of North India.

Team Parvasi – Inside

Normal life has been partially paralysed because of cold wave conditions, thick fog and reduced visibility.

 A severe cold wave, accompanied by a blinding layer of dense fog, has enveloped most parts of  North India, including Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, and the adjoining Central and Eastern parts of the country on Sunday. The extreme weather conditions have been  affecting road, rail and air traffic movement throughout the region.

The Meteorology Department has  issued an “orange” alert for certain parts of north India, including Delhi, saying that dense fog, cold day and cold wave conditions will persist.

In view of intense cold wave conditions prevailing in the region, the Punjab Government has extended winter holidays in all the government, private and aided schools till January 14 for Classes 1 to 7.

The Meteorological Department has also indicated the possibility of  a relief after a couple of days under the influence of back-to-back western disturbances.

A severe cold wave has virtually paralysed  Delhi on Sunday, with the minimum temperature at the Safdarjung Observatory, the city’s primary weather station, plunging to a bone-chilling 1.9 degrees Celsius, the lowest in January in two years.

Very dense fog lowered visibility to 50 metres at the Palam observatory, near the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, at 5:30 am.

The Delhi International Airport Limited tweeted that flights, which are not CAT III compliant, may get affected.

Passengers have been advised to contact the airline concerned for updated flight information.

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A Northern Railway spokesperson said 42 trains were delayed by one hour to five hours due to the foggy conditions.

According to the weather office, fog is considered very dense when visibility is between 0 and 50 metres, it is dense when visibility if between  51 and 200 metres, and is treated as moderate  between 201 and 500 metres, and shallow between 501 and 1,000 metres.

With freezing winds from the snow-clad mountains pounding northwest India, including Delhi, the weather stations at Lodhi Road, Ayanagar, Ridge and Jafarpur logged a minimum temperature of 2.8 degrees Celsius, 2.6 degrees Celsius, 2.2 degrees Celsius and 2.8 degrees Celsius, respectively.

On Saturday, the Safdarjung observatory had logged a minimum temperature of 2.2 degrees Celsius—lower than that of most places in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and some hill stations in Jammu and Kashmir.

A severe cold wave had brought the minimum temperature down to a numbing 1.5 degrees Celsius at the Ridge weather station in central Delhi.

Several places in the capital had recorded the maximum temperature at least seven notches below normal, making it a severe cold day.

The cold snap is straining power grids and posing challenges to the homeless and animals. Delhi’s peak winter power demand rose to a record 5,526 MW on Friday.

The IMD warned of an impact on agriculture, livestock, water supply, transport and the power sector at some places.

The weather office also said frostbite can occur due to a prolonged exposure to cold and that one should not ignore shivering—the first sign that the body is losing heat—and should stay indoors.

Prabhjot Singh


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