North freezes over,15 more deadhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/north-freezes-over-15-more-dead/

North freezes over,15 more dead

Moderate to heavy snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir,Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand intensified the cold wave conditions in northern India...

Moderate to heavy snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir,Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand intensified the cold wave conditions in northern India on Sunday,claiming 15 more lives with thick fog also disrupting road,train and air traffic.

Twelve people succumbed to cold in Uttar Pradesh and three in Jammu and Kashmir,taking the death toll to 46.

On Sunday,a goods train hit a stationary one in Kanpur apparently due to poor visibility caused by fog,seriously injuring one of the drivers. Traffic on the Delhi-Howrah stretch has been disrupted following the accident.

About one-and-a-half feet of snow was recorded in the high altitude areas of Kashmir valley,including Baltal and Drass on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway,since Saturday evening.

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The Gulmarg ski resort received fresh snow of four to five feet. The minimum temperature in Srinagar was 0.2 degrees Celsius. The Trikuta hills in Jammu,housing the holy shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi,experienced its first snowfall of the season. However,the yatra to the shrine continued uninterrupted. Tourists flocked to Patnitop,110 km away from Jammu.

Shimla’s wait for snow ended Saturday night with Jakhu Hill overlooking the town’s core areas of the Mall and Ridge experiencing at least 2.5 cm of snow after midnight. Kufri,the most popular tourist hub known for its ski-slopes,recorded 9 cm of snow while Narkanda witnessed 12.5 cm of snow.

“It’s a very good beginning for 2009. Snowfall has brought hopes for the hoteliers and the tourism industry,” said State Secretary (Tourism),Manisha Nanda.

In UP,six people lost their lives in Balrampur,two each were killed in Fatehpur and Basti and one each in Gonda and Shravasti. The state Government has directed district magistrates to ensure arrangement of bonfires and setting up of temporary shelters to protect people from cold.

The minimum temperature of 4.2 degrees Celsius was recorded in Gorakhpur while Lucknow recorded 4.7 degrees,according to Met office sources. Authorities have already directed the school managements not to hold classes.

Higher reaches of Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas received the season’s second snowfall and the plains in Uttarakhand were lashed by intermittent rains.

In Rajasthan,the hill station of Mount Abu shivered with temperature touching 1 degree C on Saturday night. Sriganganagar was the coldest in the plains with 5.5 degrees C. Due to clear sky and no northerly winds,the night temperature rose considerably in all places in the state on Saturday,the Met officials said.

Punjab and Haryana were enjoying sunshine after a gap of several days though light rains did occur at some places in the region. The mercury,which had been hovering under 5 degrees C,rose by a few notches. Chandigarh saw the minimum temperature settling at 7.8 degrees C. The city also received light showers on Sunday morning,the Met Department said here.

Amritsar,where the minimum had dipped to one degree C two days ago,saw a temperature of 6.1 degrees C.

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Chandigarh saw the minimum temperature settling at 7.8 degrees C. The city also received light showers on Sunday morning,the Met Department said here. Amritsar,where the minimum had dipped to one degree C two days ago,saw a temperature of 6.1 degrees C. The minimum temperatures also rose at most places in Haryana. Ambala,which received light rains,registered a low of 7.8 degrees C,a degree above normal.