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Mercury hovers near freezing point in parts of North

Cold wave coupled with fog affected normal life in most parts of North India, as road and rail traffic were hit in the region, while mercury hovered around freezing point in some parts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan on Saturday.

Delhiites woke up to a chilly Saturday with the minimum temperature settling at 6.8 degrees Celsius, one notch below the season’s average. The maximum temperature was recorded at 21 degrees, also a notch below the normal, said a MeT department official.

Foggy conditions were witnessed in the city during the morning, significantly reducing the visibility to 500 meters. In Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar witnessed the season’s coldest night so far with the minimum temperature settling at a low of minus 4.4 degrees as the cold wave tightened its grip in the Valley where mercury slipped further below the freezing point.

The night temperature in Srinagar dipped further by over a degree from the previous night’s minus 3.2 degrees Celsius and settled at a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, causing fringes of famous Dal Lake to freeze, the MeT official said.

The mercury in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley, also went down to a low of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, the official said. The tourist resort of Pahalgam which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir registered a low of minus 7.9 degrees Celsius.

The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 10.5 degrees Celsius. Leh, in the frontier region of Ladakh, was the coldest place in the state with minus 13.7 degrees Celsius. The temperature in the nearby Kargil town also dropped nearly three degrees to a low of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius.

In Haryana, Narnaul was the coldest at 1.6 degrees Celsius, as ongoing cold conditions continued unabated in the state and neighbouring Punjab. Hisar also reeled under biting cold at a low of 4 degrees Celsius.Cold conditions also swept Karna and Ambala with 5 and 6.7 degrees Celsius respectively.

Chandigarh experienced a cold night at 5.6 degrees Celsius, down two degrees than normal, the MeT Department here said. In Punjab, Amritsar reeled under severe chill at a low of 2.2 degrees Celsius, down two notches while Ludhiana also experienced a cold night at 4.2 degrees Celsius. Patiala recorded a low of 6.7 degrees Celsius.

While in Rajasthan, biting cold conditions continued to prevail as Churu in plains was the coldest place at 1.4 degree Celsius whereas the sole hill station Mount Abu was freezing at zero degree Celsius.
Meanwhile, dense fog affected movement of trains under North Western Railway with 10 trains running late, a railway spokesperson said.