M A I N   N E W S

North shivers
Amritsar, Jalandhar touch sub-zero temperature
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Cold wave further tightened its grip over Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Jammu and Kashmir as the mercury fell to sub-zero level in certain areas of Punjab and the hilly region today.

Amritsar and Jalandhar shivered as the temperature at both places touched the sub-zero level last night. According to reports reaching here from Amritsar, the mercury fell to minus 0.2 degree Celsius and in Jalandhar it was recorded minus 0.6 degree Celsius. Compared to Jalandhar and Amritsar, Shimla remained warmer with a minimum temperature of 6.5 degree Celsius.

In fact, the cold wave has the hit the vegetable and other rabi crops at various places. If the biting cold persists for some more days, it could hit the mustard crop hard. The wheat crop has started showing up in fields. The sowing of the wheat is almost over in Punjab, Haryana and other areas.

The maximum day temperature recorded at Jalandhar was 21 degree Celsius.

However, Bhuntar and Sundarnagar in Himachal Pradesh experienced freezing cold as the mercury level fell to minus 1.7 and minus 1.1 degree Celsius respectively.

Delhi is also facing extreme cold wave conditions. In Uttar Pradesh, a four-month-old boy died of cold. At various places, volunteer organisations have become active to protect the poor from extreme cold wave conditions. Informed sources said blankets and other warm clothes were being distributed among the poor.

However, though icy winds are sweeping various places, but nights are by and large free from foggy conditions so far. Drivers have not been facing any major difficulty in driving their vehicles at night. It is, perhaps, the first time in the past many years that the temperature has gone down  drastically in the second week of December. Usually, the biting cold starts in the last week of December.

Officials at the Met Department said the night temperature was expected to remain chilly for a couple of days more.

The department has also predicted light to moderate rain or snow in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh, J and K. However, the weather will remain dry in Punjab, Haryana. Cold wave has disrupted normal life and hit hard the daily wage earners and shelterless people who spend the night out.

Srinagar in J and K with a minus 5.2 degree Celsius temperature remained the coldest place in the hills. Chandigarh recorded a 5.6 degree celsius and Ambala 4.6 degrees Celsius.

Hisar 4.7 degrees Celsius and Ludhiana 3.9 degrees Celsius.

In Rajasthan, Churu experienced the coldest night of winter season with the mercury plummeting to 0.4 degrees Celsius, which was 5 degrees below normal. Icy winds have engulfed he entire Rajasthan state in the last 24 hours.

Cold winds also affected the flow of tourists in pink city of Jaipur and other parts of the Rajasthan.5.6C

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