Saturday, January 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Chandigarhs coldest night

Chandigarh, January 10
Thick layers of fog, coupled with icy winds, today again played havoc with rail, road and air traffic while people shivered intensely with the mercury plummeting to the lowest of the season and at some places in the north-west in a decade or so.

The Punjab Government ordered the closure of all elementary schools in the state till January 15 in the wake of a further fall in temperatures and continued dense fog. The Haryana Government had already ordered closure of schools till January 13.

An official statement here said in case of composite schools where classes from one to high school or higher secondary were run, the elementary sections would be closed as per todays orders.

Meanwhile, the death-toll in weather-related incidents in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh rose to 36, with one more death each reported in each of the states during the past 24 hours.

Chandigarh and its adjoining areas of Panchkula (Haryana) and Mohali (Punjab) reeled as the mercury dipped to the lowest of 1.4C, while in Ambala (Haryana), it dipped to 0.7C both almost six degrees below normal. Chandigarh had experienced the coldest night of 1C on January 11, 2001.

Ludhiana and Patiala, too, were reeling as the mercury dipped by 6C to 0.4C and 1.5C respectively.

Delhi and Hisar shivered intensely as the minimum temperatures dipped to the lowest of 3.5C, 4C and 2C below normal this morning.

With the thinning of fog around 2 pm, people, in and around Chandigarh, ventured outdoors to bask in the warmth of the sun. Till then, the maximum had plummeted to 7.4C, almost 12 below normal. However, with the sun appearing the mercury rose to 9C by 4.30 pm.

A report from Karnal in Haryana said the people shivered as ground temperatures sharply fell to 3C in the maximum and 2C in the minimum amid foggy conditions. This led to a sharp fall in attendance in government offices and colleges.

The people in Jammu and Kashmir, too, shivered under biting icy winds. Srinagar, summer capital, and Jammu, the winter capital of the state, experienced the coldest night with the lows of minus 5.7C and 2.6C, both 2 and 5 below normal.

Jammu and Kashmirs forward areas, besides far-flung Leh and Kargil in Ladakh district and neighbouring tribal belt, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh reeled under sub-zero temperatures, that ranged between 10C and 25C.

A Shimla report said the minimum temperature in and around the capital town dropped to 0C from 2.5C recorded yesterday. The day temperature hovered around 10.6C at the historic Ridge. UNI

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