Biting cold grips north India; eight killed in UP accident due to fog

Icy winds swept north India on Wednesday, with Amritsar in Punjab reporting the lowest minimum temperature in the plains, while dense fog engulfed several parts of Uttar Pradesh, where eight people died when a bus collided with a gas tanker amid reduced visibility.
The mercury dropped below the freezing point in several hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
“The lowest minimum temperature of 2.0’C reported at Amritsar (Punjab) over the plains of the country,” the India Meteorological Department’s bulletin said.
The maximum temperature in the holy city settled at 8.2 degrees Celsius, which was down by 13 notches against normal limits, making it even colder than Manali, Shimla and Srinagar.
Manali, Shimla and Srinagar recorded maximum temperatures of 10.4 degrees Celsius, 11.7 degrees Celsius and 10.4 degrees Celsius, respectively.
Delhi registered a minimum temperature of 5.8 degrees Celsius, while the visibility dropped to 100 metres in the Palam area in the morning due to “dense fog”.
The India Meteorological Department has predicted both “cold day” and “cold wave” in parts of the national capital on Thursday and Friday.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, experienced the coldest night of the season as the valley reeled under cold conditions with the mercury plummeting several degrees below the freezing point owing to a clear sky.
The mercury in Gulmarg, the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 11.0 degrees Celsius which is about seven degrees below the normal for this time of the season, the officials said.
The resort was the coldest recorded place in the Union Territory.
In Himachal Pradesh, the weather remained dry in the last 24 hours, even as Manali, Dalhousie, Keylong and Kalpa in the state shivered at sub-zero temperatures.
The minimum temperature decreased by one to two degrees Celsius in the state in the last 24 hours, the MeT Department said.
Keylong, the administrative centre of the tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti, continued to be the coldest place in the state at minus 5.6 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature in Rajasthan has dropped by up to four degrees in the last 24 hours and the weather office has issued a cold wave warning for the next two days.
Ganganagar was recorded as the coldest place in the state at 2.5 degrees Celsius.
Parts of Uttar Pradesh received light rains, while dense fog engulfed isolated places over western part of the state.
Eight people died, while 21 more sustained injuries on Wednesday morning when an Uttar Pradesh Roadways bus collided with a gas tanker amid reduced visibility due to fog, police said.
Bareilly was the coldest place in the state where the minimum temperature was 5.3 degrees Celsius.
Weather is most likely to remain dry and shallow to moderate fog is very likely at isolated places over the state on December 18 and 19.