Bright Christmas in north but chill tightens grip
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It was a clear, bright Christmas day across large parts of northern India on Wednesday with no major snowfall or rain in the region where temperatures, however, recorded a slide as the cold gained in intensity.
It was a cheerful morning in Delhi on Wednesday with only a shallow fog cover which cleared out later in the day.
The minimum temperature in the national capital was recorded at a drop of one notch from yesterday at 7.5 degrees Celsius. The maximum on a windy day in the city was at 20.4 degrees.
Higher up, the weather improved in the Kashmir Valley after three days with no rain or snowfall reported even as night temperatures stayed below freezing point in most areas.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, saw the mercury continue at the 0.6 degrees recorded the night before while the ski-resort of Gulmarg, to where tourists flock to celebrate Christmas, was the coldest place in the state with a low of -9.3 degrees. The night temperature in Ladakh's Leh increased by over two degrees to settle at a low of -6.3 degrees as against -8.9 degrees the previous night.
Meanwhile, in Himachal Pradesh, the intense cold sweeping the state showed no signs of easing with the mercury hovering around freezing point at many places.
The high altitude areas of the state froze under the severe cold with the mercury staying between -10 and -18 degrees.
Thick ground frost occurred in the higher hills while fog engulfed towns along the river banks, hampering vehicular traffic in the morning hours. Keylong and Kalpa in the Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts recorded minimums of -5 and -2.4 degrees, respectively.
State capital Shimla and Dharamsala registered lows of 4.5 and 5.8 degrees, respectively. The weatherman has predicted dry weather in the state over the coming four days with rain or snowfall likely from December 31 onwards in the middle and higher hills.