New Delhi, Dec 14 (PTI) Rains and snowfall in several parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Saturday pulled the mercury down in the region.
In Delhi, the maximum temperature dropped by four notches at 19.2 degrees Celsius. The minimum was recorded at 9.7 degrees Celsius.
The weatherman said the mercury is expected to hover around 7 degrees Celsius over the next three days and dense fog is likely in the city and adjoining areas like Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, north Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
The air quality in the national capital improved significantly on Saturday as a result of rains over the last two days. Delhi recorded an overall air quality index of 163 at 4 pm, which falls in the 'moderate' category.
Pollution levels, however, are likely to increase marginally as wind speed is predicted to decline over the next two to three days.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), cold wave conditions are likely to prevail in isolated pockets over J-K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Sunday.
In Himachal Pradesh, following recent snowfall and heavy rains, residents and tourists have been asked to remain cautious as avalanche and landslides are likely.
Chamba Deputy Commissioner Vivek Bhatia said PWD men and machinery have been working for opening roads for traffic which were blocked after recent snowfall and rain and efforts were also on to restore power supply in affected areas.
Popular tourist destinations Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie and Kufri, witnessed overnight snowfall. Dalhousie received the highest snowfall (60 cm) in the state, followed by Kufri (20 cm), Manali (10 cm) and Shimla (8 cm), between 5.30 pm on Friday and 8.30 am on Saturday, the Met Centre in Shimla said.
Lahaul-Spiti's administrative centre Keylong and Kinnaur's Kalpa also witnessed 13 cm snowfall each during the period.
The Kashmir valley remained cut-off from the rest of the country for the third consecutive day as the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was closed. The highway was closed for traffic on Thursday after heavy snowfall around the Jawahar Tunnel -- the gateway to the Kashmir Valley.
Snowfall continued in most parts of the Valley, including in the plains, till Saturday morning. Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.5 degree Celsius, Pahalgam minus 0.8 degree Celsius and Gulmarg minus 5 degrees Celsius, a Met official said.
He said Drass, in Ladakh Union territory, recorded a low of minus 11 degrees Celsius, while Leh registered minus 10.1 degrees Celsius. Jammu city recorded a low of 9.6 degrees Celsius, he added.
Flight operations to and from Kashmir was restored after remaining suspended for seven consecutive days due to poor visibility caused by heavy fog and snowfall.
The helicopter and ropeway service at the famous cave shrine of Vaishno Devi in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir remained suspended for the second day due to inclement weather.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration, meanwhile, reviewed the post snowfall situation across the Union territory and issued directions for early restoration of power supply and clearance of roads, an official spokesperson said.
In Rajasthan, cold weather conditions prevailed, with Mount Abu recording the lowest minimum temperature in the state at 2.2 degrees Celsius. Sikar recorded a low of 4 degrees Celsius, followed by Churu at 6 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperatures in Sri Ganganagar, Pilani, Banasthali and Ajmer were 6.4, 7.3, 8.3 and 8.5 degrees Celsius, respectively. While Bhilwara recorded a low of 8.6 degrees Celsius, the minimum temperature was 9 degrees Celsius each in Jaipur and Eranpura Road.
In Sawai Madhopur the minimum temperature was 9.5 degrees Celsius. Other places in the state recorded a minimum temperature above 10 degrees Celsius, the weather office said.
The minimum temperature stayed above normal at most places in Punjab and Haryana, with common capital Chandigarh recording a minimum of 10.3 degrees Celsius, the meteorological department said.
In Haryana, the minimum temperatures recorded in Ambala, Karnal and Bhiwani were above normal at 10.1, 9.8 and 7.9 degrees Celsius respectively.
Hisar recorded a low of 5 degrees Celsius, while the minimum in Sirsa was 5.6 degrees Celsius, the weatherman said.
In Punjab, the minimum temperatures in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala were 9.4, 9.8 and 9.7 degrees Celsius respectively. Bathinda and Faridkot recorded below normal minimums at 5.9 and 7.5 degrees Celsius respectively, he said.
The Met official said the night temperatures are likely to fall by a few notches from Sunday.
Rains and hailstorms in Uttar Pradesh brought the temperature down to single digit in many areas on Saturday. Shahjahanpur and Moradabad received rainfall of 9 cm each, followed by Nighasan 8 cm, Hapur 6 cm, Nanpara cm, Mohammadi and Kaimganj 5 cm each, the meteorological department said.
Day temperatures markedly fell in Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Faizabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Bareilly and Moradabad divisions, they said. The weather is likely to remain dry over the state on Sunday with shallow to moderate fog at few places.
According to the IMD, thunderstorm accompanied with lightning are likely at isolated places over east Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on Sunday. Dense fog is also likely in isolated pockets over north Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, coastal Odisha, south Assam and Meghalaya and Manipur & Mizoram in the morning hours.
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