North India reels under bitter cold today as icy winds swept the region following heavy snow and rains over the last some days.

In the capital Delhi, icy winds blowing from mountains brought down the mercury to 4.5 degree Celsius, three degrees below normal and a sharp decline from yesterday’s 8.4 degrees.

This is the first time in the New Year that the minimum temperature dropped to below normal levels and on four days, in last ten days, the lowest temperature was five degrees above normal.

Biting cold prevailed in Kashmir Valley with minimum temperatures dipping below the normal in several places.

The minimum temperature in the skiing resort of Gulmarg plunged more than sixteen degrees below the freezing point.

The mercury in the north Kashmir’s famous Gulmarg resort plunged to minus 16.2 degrees Celsius, recording a drop of 1.7 degrees from yesterday, a MeT official said.

The morning temperature in Gulmarg was recorded at minus 12.6 degrees Celsius, he said adding that the minimum temperature in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam tourist resort was minus 11.4 degrees Celsius, a drop of 4.6 degrees compared to yesterday.

Though Srinagar city recorded a slightly warmer night with minimum temperature increasing by 1.4 degrees, the city shivered at minus 2.8 degrees Celsius, with many of the interior roads and lanes covered by an ice layer.

Electricity was restored at almost throughout the city after three days of complete black-out due to heavy snowfall, which had snapped the power supply.

Water supply, however, remained affected as extremely chilling weather froze the supply pipes.

Severe cold wave swept parts of Punjab and neighbouring Haryana as Amritsar recorded this year’s lowest minimum so far at minus 2 degrees Celsius.

Intense cold also swept Ludhiana, which recorded a low of 3.8 degree Celsius, down two notches, while the minimum at Patiala was 4 degree Celsius, two below normal.

Chandigarh had a clear sky today, but the night temperature dropped since yesterday to settle at 4.6 degree Celsius.

In Haryana, Hisar and Rohtak reeled under bone-chilling weather recording identical minimums of 1.7 degree Celsius each, both down five notches.

In Himachal Pradesh too a severe cold wave prevailed after heavy snowfall and rains over the last four days caused a sharp fall in temperatures across the state.

The key tourist resort of Manali shivered with minimum temperature plummeting by six degrees to settle at minus 7 degree Celsius while the state capital Shimla and Solan recorded a low of minus 2.1 degree Celsius and minus 2.5 degree Celsius respectively, which is 4.5 degrees below normal.

Vehicular traffic remained suspended in upper Shimla region for the second day today and several tourist resorts including Kufri, Narkanda, Sarahan, Sangla remained inaccessible.

The winter carnival at Manali also suffered due to snow and intense cold as people preferred to stay indoors and Kullu-Manali road also remained closed due to snow.

All natural sources of water like lakes, springs, rivulets and a 70km stretch of Chandrabhaga river were frozen, causing sharp fall in water supply in the Snowfed Sutlej, Ravi and Beas rivers, affecting power generation.

Bitter cold prevailed across Uttar Pradesh with Najibabad recording the lowest temperature of two degrees celsius.

Sources at the MET office here said that night temperatures fell in Allahabad, Moradabad, Varanasi, Faizabad, Kanpur, Bareilly, Agra and Meerut. The minimum temperature of two degree celsius was recorded in Najibabad.

The sources added that cold wave conditions would continue in the state during the next 48 hours and fog was likely at many places.