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Fog, Severe Cold Throw Normal life Out of Gear In North India

PTI 02 Jan 2010, 19:09:40 PM IST

Normal life was on Saturday thrown out of gear due to dense fog in north India, where poor visibility led to three train accidents claiming ten lives and disruption of flights from the Delhi airport for the first time this season.

Over two dozen cold-related deaths were reported from various parts of Uttar Pradesh since last night taking the total number of such casualties to 40 this winter.

To make matters worse, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and parts of Jammu and Kashmir reeled under a power crisis as 35 lines of the northern grid tripped around 3 AM following a technical glitch in the transmission lines triggered by fog and cold conditions.

 Amritsar recorded the season's lowest temperature at minus 1.2 degree Celsius making it the coldest place in the region even as minimum temperature rose by up to three notches at several places of Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh shivered at 4.2 deg C, two degrees below normal.

In Rajasthan, Mount Abu remained the coldest place with a minimum of 4 deg C followed by Ganganagar at 4.9 deg C early this morning.

With mercury showing no signs of relenting in Jammu and Kashmir, the banks of famous Dal lake were partially frozen with minimum temperature dipping to minus 4.8 deg C in Srinagar. Boatmen found it difficult to ferry passengers in the morning due to the frozen banks of the lake.

Leh in Ladakh region recorded a minimum of minus 18.6 deg C while Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir continued to be the coldest place in the valley with a low of minus 6.9 deg C.
In Uttar Pradesh, over two dozen people died in various districts since last night as an intense cold wave swept major parts of the state, official sources said in Lucknow.

While five persons died in Bhadoi, four deaths each were reported from Ghazipur, Allahabad and Gorakhpur. Three persons died in Deoria, two in Siddharth Nagar and one each in Kushinagar, Jaunpur, Azamgarh and Varanasi, they added.

Shahjahanpur, which recorded a minimum temperature of 5 deg C this morning, was the coldest place in the state.

Cold conditions, however, eased further in Shimla and other lower areas of Himachal Pradesh with rise in temperature but the higher reaches of the state remained under sub zero temperature.

While Shimla, the queen of hills, recorded a day temperature of 17.6 deg C, Keylong, headquarters of Lahaul & Spiti district, was the coldest place in the state with a night temperature of minus 11.8 deg C.

In Delhi, visibility was reduced to 50 metres this morning because of dense fog. The minimum temperature in the national capital rose from 6.6 deg C yesterday to 8.4 deg C today.

"Today's fog is most dense in this season so far. The visibility came down to 50 metres," the Met office said and predicted similar weather condItions tomorrow also.

Over 90 flights were hit due to thick fog and cable fault at the Indira Gandhi International airport here. While 70 domestic flights were delayed, six were cancelled and 17 international services diverted to some other cities.

The Met office has forecast rains and thundershowers in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh within next 24 to 48 hours. PTI