At least 100 people died of cold wave in N. India

08:32, January 05, 2010      

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Cold wave conditions over north India show no signs of abating Monday with rainfall in many areas and snowfall in the hills over the last two days bringing down the temperatures drastically.

At least 100 deaths have been reported due to cold wave condition with Uttar Pradesh being the hardest hit. In Uttar Pradesh, the death toll has reached 72 with 16 more people reportedly dying in the state in the past 24 hours.

Himachal Pradesh witnessed the season's first snow fall on Sunday. The snowfall that started in the morning was recorded at over 10 centimetres by Monday evening. According to the Weather Department, more snowfall is expected in the region over the next two days.

In Srinagar, India-controlled Kashmir, the weather recorded a minimum temperature of minus 1.2 degrees Celsius Monday. The temperature also dipped severely in some other parts of the country going as low as one degree in Amritsar in the northern state of Punjab.

Delhi and neighboring areas witnessed spells of rain on Monday bringing down the temperature drastically.

Some parts of the country grappled with dense fog which delayed trains and hampered vehicular traffic.

The breath-taking world tourist attraction of Taj Mahal in Agrawas seen cloaked in fog even as there was no fog in Delhi Monday.

Several trains passing through Punjab and Haryana were running late by several hours due to intense fog. Poor visibility also hampered vehicular traffic across the region.

Bihar too is witnessing cold wave conditions. At the Patna zoo, authorities are using heaters to help the animals beat the cold.

Indian authorities are contemplating the closure of all schools in the national capital as cold wave and dense fog leave the northern region in jitters.

"We are considering it (closure of schools). We will discuss the issue in today's Cabinet meeting which will take a final decision on it," Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit told the media on Monday.

Air traffic in the national capital's Indira Gandhi International airport was severely disrupted with as many as 60 domestic flights and 13 international flights were either delayed for take-offs or diverted to neighboring airports.

The plains of India-controlled Kashmir including Srinagar city has received this year's first snowfall and season's second so far.

The snowfall which started Sunday in Srinagar and adjoining areas brought respite to the people from the cold wave that had taken the region in its grip for the past fortnight.

The Meteorological Department officials in Srinagar said reports of precipitation have been received from across the Kashmir valley including various tourist resorts like Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Kokernag.

Source: Xinhua
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