The mercury rose in many parts of North India on Thursday after an extended bout of cold, but rains are likely in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana in the coming days.

Temperatures in Delhi did not see any stark variations on a partially cloudy day as the maximum touched 21.9 degrees Celsius, normal for this time of the year. However, the minimum was a degree below normal at 7.1, with the weatherman saying the conditions on Friday will remain largely unchanged.

There was no relief for Himachal Pradesh from the biting cold. It had a heavily overcast sky and the Meteorological Department has predicted heavy snowfall in the State in the coming week. Thus, the middle and higher reaches of Chamba, Lahaul and Spiti, Kangra, Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla districts are bracing for snowfall, while the lower hills are expecting heavy rainfall and thundershowers from midnight of February 4 to February 6. As the chill continued to trouble the State, Manali recorded a low of minus 1.5 degrees, while the mercury was at 4.7 degrees in Shimla.

Leading the jump in temperatures was Jammu and Kashmir, where the weather has registered a remarkable turnaround over the last two days. According to the weather office, the minimum in Srinagar climbed more than three notches to touch 1.8 from Wednesday night’s minus 1.6 degrees.

The hill resort of Pahalgam in South Kashmir too reported an improvement in temperatures as the mercury rose to minus 3.6 degrees from Wednesday night’s minus 6.7. Gulmarg, which had shivered at minus 4.6 degrees on Wednesday night, recorded a low of minus 2.0, up two notches. And for once, Leh town, at minus 12.2 degrees, was not the coldest place in the State. That distinction was passed on to Kargil, which recorded a low of minus 13.6 against Wednesday’s minus 12.4.

Punjab and Haryana too found relief as the chill eased a little with minimum temperatures rising by up to three notches above normal across both States. The minimum in Haryana’s Karnal and Patiala in Punjab settled at an identical 6.4 degrees, two notches above normal, while Ambala at 7.4 was three degrees above normal. Ludhiana was the coldest place in the plains of Punjab and Haryana with a low of six degrees Celsius, one notch below normal. Places like Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Hisar, Ambala and Karnal reported formation of fog and mist, with the weather office talking of a rise in temperatures over the next 24 hours.The weatherman has forecast variable weather in the region up to February 3 accompanied by scattered light rain after February 2.

In Rajasthan, the mercury rose marginally in certain areas with Sriganganagar registering a low of 7.6. The minimum hovered between 11.5 and 15.3 degrees elsewhere.

In Uttar Pradesh, where the weather remained mainly dry, cold conditions were reported at one or two places, while night temperatures rose in the Varanasi, Faizabad and Meerut divisions. The lowest temperature in the State was recorded at 4.4 at Najibabad, with the weatherman saying that conditions will be mainly dry with chances of fog at some places in the next 24 hours. — PTI