New Delhi, Dense fog and cold wave conditions across north India affected normal life on Tuesday, and badly hit road and rail traffic as well as flights.
Shimla town received snowfall on Tuesday, bringing cheer to tourists in the hill station. This was the heaviest snowfall in the Himachal Pradesh capital this winter.
With dense fog engulfing the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport in New Delhi, many flights were affected. Most of the flights, especially in the morning, departed much later than their scheduled time.
The visibility in New Delhi at 8.30 a.m. was 300 metres and humidity was recorded at 97 percent.
According to the Northern Railway, 14 trains were running late due to fog in and around the national capital.
In the plains of Punjab and Haryana, people shivered due to cold wave conditions, as the maximum temperature at most places dipped by 5-8 degrees below normal.
Vehicular and train movement was affected in the region due to fog in many places. Visibility was reduced to less than 100 metres at many places.
Ambala and Narnaul in Haryana recorded a high of 12 degrees Celsius, seven and eight degrees below normal, while Patiala in neighbouring Punjab had a high of 13 degrees, six degrees below normal. Ludhiana and Amritsar recorded highs of 13.7 and 14.8 degrees, respectively.
Chandigarh experienced a high of 15.7 degrees Celsius, five degrees below normal.
In Jammu and Kashmir, cold wave conditions, especially in the Kashmir Valley, continued, with Srinagar recording a low of minus 2.3 degrees.
In Himachal Pradesh, places located at higher altitudes were cut off from the rest of the country due to heavy snowfall.
“Shimla and its nearby areas experienced snowfall,” an official of the meteorological department told IANS.
Nearby tourist places like Kufri and Narkanda also saw snowfall, which covered the places in a white blanket.
Snow is considered good for the apple crop.
As news of the snowfall in Shimla spread, tourists flocked to the place known for the imperial grandeur of buildings that were once institutions of power when the town served as the summer capital of British India.
“For the first time, we have seen snowfall,” said Ridhima Ohri, a tourist from Chandigarh, who was in Shimla with her friends.
Shimla, which saw a low of 1.6 degree Celsius, recorded more than 10 cm of snow, while Kufri and Mashobra recorded more than 20 cm of snow each.
The snowy landscape in Shimla will stay this way for two-three days, an official of the Met department said.
“High-altitude areas of Lahaul-Spiti, Chamba, Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla districts have been experiencing moderate to heavy snow,” the official said.
Manali, which was cloudy, experienced a low of minus 1.6 degree Celsius. The Rohtang Pass, some 52 km from Manali, also saw snowfall.
Kalpa, 250 km from Shimla, and Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district also experienced snow. These towns saw night temperature fall to 3.6 degrees and 5.7 degrees Celsius below freezing point, respectively.