New Delhi: The entire North India shivered on Monday as 11 more people succumbed to the intense cold sweeping the region pushing the death toll to 39. Dense fog and dipping temperatures threw normal life out of gear at several places as nine deaths occurred in Punjab and two in Uttar Pradesh since Sunday evening.

The death count from the harsh weather has risen to 30 in Uttar Pradesh where Fatehgarh with a minimum temperature of 3.9 degrees was the coldest place in the state.

The national capital woke up to a thick blanket of fog which reduced the visibility to almost zero in some areas and disrupted rail and air traffic.

The minimum temperature in Delhi was five degrees Celsius, three notches below normal, while the maximum settled at 21.9 degrees, a notch below normal.

Cold conditions prevailed in Kashmir Valley with the minimum temperatures dropping several degrees below freezing point as the weather department forecast light to moderate snowfall at many places.

Sub-zero night temperatures have resulted in freezing of water supply lines in many areas in the Valley.

Mercury in the skiing resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir plummeted to a minimum of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius. 

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, reeled at minus 3.4 degrees Celsius. The tourist resort of Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius.

In the remote Leh district in Ladakh region, the mercury dipped to a low of minus 13 degrees Celsius.

The adjoining Kargil district in the Ladakh region registered a minimum of minus 12 degrees Celsius, the MeT office said.

Cold conditions intensified in Punjab and Haryana with mercury plunging up to seven degrees Celsius below normal in some parts of the two states.

Hisar was coldest place in Haryana with a low of 0.1 degrees Celsius, seven notches below normal.

The minimum in Ludhiana settled at 0.8 degrees Celsius, six notches below normal, while Amritsar recorded a low of 1.3 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal.

Owing to low visibility most of the trains, including those bound for Pathankot and Amritsar, ran late.

Rajasthan also reeled under cold and foggy conditions with Sriganganagar recording a minimum temperature of 3.8 degree Celsius followed by Churu (four degrees Celsius).

Dense fog delays 50 flights

Dense fog on Monday enveloped the IGI airport disrupting flight operations as around 50 of them were delayed causing inconvenience to passengers.

A thick blanket of fog descended at the airport at around midnight and visibility dipped to a low of 50 metres in the morning between 8 AM and 9:30 AM on runways 29/11 and 27/09.

The poor visibility made the two runways unusable and forced the airport authorities to implement low visibility procedures.

The runway visibility on the main runway was also less than 50 metres at Dwarka side.

A total of 289 flights operated during the LVP period which lasted for about 12 hours on the main runway and for 10 hours on the new runway.

A total of 242 flights operated under CAT I conditions, 10 under CAT II, one under CAT III A conditions and 36 under CAT III B, an airport official said. However, the visibility increased later in the day. But it suddenly dipped at around 5 AM and 530 AM from 2000 metres to 500 metres due to sudden formation of fog.

"This dense fog spell has been still happening in advance sector due to approaching Western disturbance. The sudden fog formed due to change in wind direction from dry westerly to moist easterly," airport Met director R K Jenamani said.

Met has predicted dense fog for tomorrow morning and flight operations may also remain affected.

Train services disrupted

Dense fog over North India triggered large-scale disruption of train services with over 100 trains arriving "inordinately late" in the city and over three dozen being resheduled.

The worst affected were trains coming from the eastern states, some of them running late by a day. "Poor visibility reduced the train speed considerably which ran at a snail’s pace," said a Northern Railway spokesperson.

There was a major bunching of trains on the busy Howrah-Delhi route during the day, the spokesperson said, adding over 120 trains arrived in the city inordinately late.

Almost all the Rajdhanis bound for East were rescheduled for the day while passengers had to wait for long hours in major stations of the Capital to board for their destination.

Railways had earlier cancelled close to 30 trains to cope with late running of trains during poor visibility.

According to the spokesperson, trains which were running late by more than a day include the Mahabodhi express from Gaya, Garib Rath express from Bhagalpur, and Neelanchal Express from Puri.

Railways has already instructed officials on board trains to ensure adequate stock of food and milk on trains.

Signalling systems on busy routes have been suitably modified to avoid collision in foggy weather conditions, the spokesperson said.

(JPN/ Agencies)