Chandigarh, January 10
With weather induced causalities crossing the 250-mark, dipping temperature, chilly winds and dense fog continue to hit normal life in north India, as meteorologists continue to dole out hopes of rain and sunny days in next three to four days.

Of 29 fresh deaths due to cold reported from north India in the past 24 hours, two are from Jalandhar in Punjab and the remaining 27 from Uttar Pradesh. Chilly winds, dense fog and reduced visibility continue to impair the normal life by not only slowing down movement of all types of traffic - air, rail and road - but by severely affecting water and power supply in Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and other areas.

Reports of frozen taps, burst water pipes and power breakdowns because of snapping of transmission wires have come from various parts of the region.

The movement of trains in Ambala sub division improved a bit due to less fog on the Delhi-Chandigarh section in the forenoon. Air traffic on the Chandigarh-Delhi and Chandigarh-Mumbai sections remained suspended because of low visibility.

But with a few road accidents, including one on Bathinda-Dabwali road in which two persons died, the region continued to witness vehicles crawling on fog-ridden state and national highways.

However, agriculture experts are hopeful that predictions by the meteorologists have early rains and a upward swing in day and night temperatures may save the crops from the vagaries of weather. Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Director of Agriculture, Punjab, said: “Till the point, there will be no damage due to frost to both vegetable and fruit grain crops like wheat and gram.”

“Our worry is only if the temperature continues to dip and there is ground frost. In that situation, the crops can suffer heavy damage,” cautions Sidhu. Low temperature and chilly winds may also damage fruit crops in the region.

The experts said low temperatures at Amritsar -1.8 degrees Celsius and Adampur, near Jalandhar, were primarily because of vast open areas surrounding the airfields where meteorological observatories are located. Otherwise, day and night temperatures are within the normal temperatures for this time of the year.

The meteorologists said after a nominal rise in both day and night temperatures yesterday, cold wave revived its grip over the region. In Chandigarh, the minimum temperature was 6.6 degrees Celsius while in Amritsar, it was 1.6 degrees Celsius and in Mount Abu, Rajasthan, it was -1.2 degrees Celsius.

In Himachal Pradesh, Hamirpur remained the coldest with a minimum temperature of 5.2 degrees Celsius. In Shimla, the night temperature rose slightly to 5.1 degrees Celsius against 4.2 degrees Celsius yesterday.

In Srinagar, the minimum temperature hovered around -4 degrees Celsius.

Source: Prabhjot Singh Tribune News Service