New Delhi, December 14
Northern plains received widespread rains while hills witnessed snowfall on Friday, throwing life out of gear in some places in the higher reaches and cutting off the Kashmir Valley from the rest of the country, with Delhi recording highest 24-hour December precipitation in 22 years.
The heavy rainfall and high-velocity winds in the national capital led to a significant improvement in the city's air quality.
The Safdarjung Observatory, figures of which are considered official for the city, recorded 33.5 mm rainfall, the second highest after 70 mm in December 1997, till 5:30 pm. The all-time high of 75.5 mm was recorded on December 3, 1923.
Meanwhile, the Palam weather station registered an all-time December high of 40.2 mm in the last 24 hours. It had gauged 33.7 mm rainfall on December 3, 1967, officials said.
Delhi recorded a low of 12.8 degrees Celsius and a high of 21.5 degrees Celsius, which was two notches below normal.
The season's first snowfall in Shimla, Nainital and Mussoorie cheered up locals and tourists.
Uttarakhand's popular hill stations got wrapped in a blanket of snow. The snowfall also continued in the upper reaches of the state, including Kedarnath, Badrinath, Auli, Yamunotri and Gangotri.
With places like Rudraprayag, Dehradun, Tehri, Pauri, Uttarkashi, Almora, Bagehswar and Pithorgarh being continuously lashed by rains for the last a few days, the whole state is in the grip of cold wave.
The cold wave and rains have forced authorities to keep schools in most parts of the hill state closed. The state transport authorities on Friday said various stretches of national and state highways have been blocked.
The famous Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills experienced the season's first snowfall as moderate to heavy snow and rains lashed wide parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for the second consecutive day on Friday disrupting normal life, officials said.
Snow ranging from five inches to over three feet has accumulated at various places, especially in Kashmir, which remained cut-off from the rest of the country following the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway for a second day and cancellation of all flights to and from the Srinagar airport for the seventh day, they said.
The officials said the first snowfall of the season at the Vaisno Devi shrine in Reasi forced suspension of the helicopter service to the pilgrim site. However, the pilgrims continued their journey by foot to pay their obeisance at the shrine.
Besides Bhawan, Bahiron Ghati, Sanjichhat and Himkoti and the serpentine route in the shrine area received nearly one feet of snow till this afternoon, they said.
Leh in Ladakh was the coldest recorded place with a minimum of minus 10.4 degrees Celsius, followed by Drass in Kargil district at minus 6.6 degrees Celsius. The high altitude areas of Kargil, including Zojilla along the 434-km Srinagar-Leh national highway, recorded heavy snowfall, the officials said.
Most places in Uttar Pradesh also received light to moderate rainfall and thundershowers on Friday bringing down the mercury in the state. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials to make arrangements for bonfires and other facilities at government shelter homes.
Shahjahanpur and Sambhal received a rainfall of 8 cm each, followed by Meja (7 cm), Hardoi, Rampur, Bilar and Moradabad (5 cm each), the MeT department said.
Meanwhile, a western disturbance triggered rain in several areas of Rajasthan where Ganganagar recorded the maximum precipitation at 15.8 mm. In the same period, that is since Thursday till Friday morning, Pilani, Sawaimadhopur and Jaipur recorded 12.2 mm, 10 mm and 9.8 mm rain, respectively, while Churu and Bikaner recorded a rainfall of 8.4 mm, the MeT department said.
Himachal Pradesh continued to record shivering temperatures on Friday after snowfall and rains across many places with state capital Shimla receiving season's first snowfall.
The tribal dominant districts of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur along with tourist places of Kufri and Manali received snowfall for the second consecutive day, Shimla Meteorological Centre Director Manmohan Singh said.
Dalhousie and Kalpa also shivered at sub-zero temperatures following snowfall and rain, he said.
Tourist places Kufri in Shimla district and Manali in Kullu district received 30 cm and 12 cm snowfall, respectively, Singh said.
Kinnaur's Kalpa and Lahaul-Spiti's Keylong witnessed 23 cm and 12.5 cm snowfall respectively, he added. Besides, most places in the state including Dharamshala (66.4 mm), Kangra (50.5 mm) and Chamba (48 mm) received rains.
The minimum temperatures in Kufri, Manali, Dalhousie and Kalpa were minus 2.6, minus 1.6, minus 1.5, minus 1.2 degrees Celsius, respectively.
The minimum temperatures in Shimla, Dharamshala, Chamba, Mandi, Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Una were 1.9, 2.6, 4, 8, 10, 10.2 and 10.5 degrees Celsius respectively, Singh said.
Minimum temperatures in Punjab and Haryana hovered above normal limits for the second consecutive day on Friday, even as several parts of the two states received light to moderate rains.
Punjab and Haryana's joint capital Chandigarh received rains for the second consecutive day. — PTI
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