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From Delhi to Dal, icy all the way

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DEEP FREEZE: A boatman picks up ice flakes from a frozen Dal Lake in Srinagar on Wednesday.
DEEP FREEZE: A boatman picks up ice flakes from a frozen Dal Lake in Srinagar on Wednesday.

Staff Reporter

Kashmir bore the brunt of cold wave with temperature below freezing point

NEW DELHI: Barely a day after celebrating the coldest New Year in almost half a decade, the Capital recorded the season’s-lowest temperature -- 1.9 degrees Celsius – on Wednesday morning.

After all the idle tea-stall musings about a “premature end to the winter” this past week, the chill hit back with a vengeance that sent shivers across the Capital and the rest of North India, enveloping it in a misty shroud of fog in the early hours of the morning.

While the Kashmir Valley bore the brunt of the cold wave with the temperature frozen at seven degrees below the freezing point and the Dal Lake under a thick layer of ice, most parts of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan braved the cold with bated breath.

The day’s maximum temperature in Delhi hovered around 20 degrees, providing little relief to the post-festivity jaded populace looking for a pleasanter clime.

Cryogenic pick-axe

The dip in the mercury was perceptible on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning with the air biting into one’s face like a cryogenic pick-axe.

“It was bitterly cold last night. I am usually averse to using the heater in my car, but with the weather the way it is now, using it is unavoidable,” said Kiran Bisht, who works in a showroom in Connaught Place.

Greater challenges

Perhaps even more than the peak of summer, the relentless cold throws greater challenges to the survival of pavement dwellers, watchmen and other vigil-keepers of the night.

“Firewood is scarce and the blankets we have are tattered. After earning our daily bread, we walk around for an hour or so to gather dry wood that will see us through the night. The cold becomes rather unmanageable if we are unable to set up a blaze,” said a cycle-rickshaw driver huddled next to a little bonfire beside the Chandni Chowk metro railway station.

Colder days

Though the BBC website has predicted a minimum temperature of 5 degrees Celsius for Thursday, the local weatherman here has pegged it at 2 degrees. Either way, the Capital along with the rest of North India should brace itself for more weather straight out of the cold storage for some more days and nights to come.

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