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Stranded passenger dies of cold; rains kill nine in U.P.

NEW DELHI, FEB. 8. The mercury rose marginally in the north today giving respite from cold wave conditions while heavy rain claimed nine lives in Uttar Pradesh even as arctic climes persisted in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh with its upper reaches receiving heavy, fresh snowfall.

The minimum temperature in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh today remained between 2 to 7 degrees above normal with Amritsar registering a lowest of 7.6 degree Celsius as large parts of the region received showers. Hissar received a maximum of 36.5 mm of rainfall followed by 17.1 mm in Ambala, 12 mm in Karnal, 10.8 mm in Chandigarh, 9.3 mm in Amritsar, 7.1 mm in Ludhiana and 5.5 mm in Patiala.

Nine persons were killed as heavy rains and hailstorm lashed parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh. While three persons were killed in Mirzapur district last night, two each were killed in Sonebhadra and Jaunpur districts. One each died in Varanasi and Chandauli districts.

Though it rained in the early hours, Delhiites enjoyed a warm day with minimum temperature remaining four degrees above normal at 13 degrees Celsius. Delhi also received 24 mm of rainfall overnight.

Heavy snow continued in Kashmir valley as the Jammu-Srinagar highway remained closed for the second day due to threats of more avalanches. One passenger died due to cold in a stranded bus while an avalanche hurled an empty bus into a 200 feet deep gorge.

Heavy snowing in Shimla

The higher hills of Himachal Pradesh received another spell of moderate snowfall while the middle and lower hills were lashed by rains and sleet even as avalanche threat persisted in upper tribal areas.

The minimum temperature was close to freezing point in Shimla which received 21.1 cm of snow and sleet, while it dipped four to five degrees below freezing point in higher hills, resulting in freezing and bursting of water pipes. The tourist resorts of Manali, Dalhousie, Shimla, Narkanda and Kufri had intermittent snow and sleet while the adjoining mid hills experienced widespread rains. The tribal valleys of Lahaul, Spiti, Pangi, Pin and Hangrang had no relief from the biting cold as the minimum temperature stayed between -18 and -28 degrees paralysing normal life. Avalanche threat loomed large over the high altitude tribal areas following heavy snowfall and people had been advised to stay indoors.

Sunder Nagar and Bhuntar recorded 36.4 mm and 32.4 mm of rains. The Indo-Tibet National Highway remained blocked at Narkanda due to heavy snowfall.

The Shimla-Kotkhai road was partially opened to traffic but Jubbal, Narkanda and Chopal remained cut off. The Kullu-Manali National Highway which was opened in the afternoon was again blocked due to landslides at Patlikul and some other places.

The higher reaches in Mandi, Kullu, Shimla and Sirmaur and high mountain passes of Rohtang, Kunzam and Chansel and sprawling Dhauladhar ranges and Churdhar ranges also experienced intermittent heavy snowfall further aggravating the cold conditions.

Rains in Punjab

The minimum temperature in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh today remained between two to seven degrees above normal with Amritsar registering a lowest of 7.6 degree celsius even as most parts experienced widespread rains triggering cold winds in the region.

According to the weather office, light to moderate rains might persist in the region during the next 24 hours.

The minimum temperature rose to 13.4 degree Celsius in Chandigarh. After receiving intermittent rain throughout last night, the city had bright sunshine this morning.

Ambala's temperature rose to 10.6 degree Celsius, Hisar's 14.1 degree and Patiala's 12 degree despite these regions experiencing widespread rains overnight. --PTI

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