NEW DELHI: Northern states of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir, reeled under intense cold wave conditions on Saturday as fog engulfed parts of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
In the national capital visibility dropped to 400 metres in the early hours due to fog, which also affected train services.
The minimum temperature here was 5.5 degrees celsius, two notches below the normal, and the maximum 23.3 degrees celsius.
Visibility improved to 700 metres at 8.30am and skies remained clear throughout the day, a Meteorological (MeT) department official said.
The Northern Railway said that as many as 18 north-bound trains were cancelled, 18 rescheduled and 44 delayed as of 7 pm.
Dense fog was also reported from parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh with Muzaffarnagar being the coldest place in the state at 2.6 degrees celsius.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature in Leh plummeted by several degrees to minus 15 degrees celsius as cold wave intensified in the state.
State capital Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of minus 4.6 degrees celsius while Pahalgam and Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.1 and minus 5.3 degrees celsius respectively, a MeT official said.
The popular ski-resort of Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 4.5 degrees celsius.
Kashmir is under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan', the 40-day period of harshest winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum. It ends on January 31.
The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai- Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).
Most parts of Punjab and Haryana reeled under cold weather conditions as minimum temperatures in several parts of the states remained several notches below the normal.
Chandigarh, the common capital of the states, shivered at 5.1 degrees celsius while Admapur was coldest place in the region at 2.2 degrees celsius, the MeT department said.
In Haryana, Ambala, Hisar and Karnal recorded 4.5, 3.5 and 2.5 degrees celsius, respectively, and in Punjab, Amritsar's minimum settled at 4.6 degrees celsius.
Fog was reported from parts of both states.
People in Rajasthan had some respite as minimum temperatures in the desert state rose by a few notches due to a western disturbance.
Sriganganagar was the coldest place in the state with the minimum at 3.4 degrees celsius, the MeT office in Jaipur said.