The weather gods did not disappoint tourists thronging to the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh with the hopes of ringing in a ‘White New Year’, but the heavy snowfall severely affected communications and traffic movement.
Kashmir was cut off from the rest of the country as heavy snowfall forced closure of several roads, including the arterial Srinagar-Jammu national highway, and led to the cancellation of all flights into and out of the city.
The snowfall, which began in the wee hours, also disrupted normal life in the Valley with authorities snapping power to several areas as a precautionary measure.
Many far-flung areas in the Valley, too, remained cut-off in the heavy snowfall, ranging between six inches to 3ft. Over six inches snowfall was recorded in Srinagar while the high altitude areas of the Valley recorded more than 3ft snowfall.
The snowfall brought about a jump in the mercury with Srinagar witnessing a nearly four degree rise in the minimum which settled at -1.4 degrees Celsius in the city, up from the -5.3 degrees recorded on Monday.
Although the weather in Ladakh remained dry, the minimum there rose by several degrees with Leh town seeing a low of -12.0 degrees, as against the -17.7 degrees recorded there the previous night. The hills and valleys of Himachal Pradesh groaned under the biting cold amidst another spell of snowfall and widespread rain in the state.
Icy, strong velocity winds accompanied by rainfall and snow lashed Narkanda, Sarahan and other areas in the upper Shimla region with the Hindustan-Tibet National Highway blocked beyond Matiana as a result of fresh deposits.
Keylong and Kalpa in the Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts, respectively, experienced moderate to heavy snowfall with the sky remaining largely overcast.
The lower and middle hills were lashed by intermittent rainfall with showers in Chamba measuring 13mm.
Further down, there was no respite from the cold in Delhi with the minimum settling three notches below normal at 4 degrees.
The mercury had on Monday dropped to a 17-year low of 2.4 degrees in the national capital.
The city also received 6.4mm rainfall in the last 24 hours with the inclement weather adding to the winter chill.
The maximum was recorded at 19.7 degrees, a notch below normal.
Light to moderate rainfall also hit several places across Punjab and Haryana, leaving both states reeling under the chilly conditions.
Among the places which received rainfall were the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Pathankot, Phagwara, Jalandhar, Ambala, Panchkula, Sonepat and Karnal.
Narnaul in Haryana registered a low of 0.5 degrees while Hisar shivered at 1.5 degrees.
In Punjab, Ludhiana and Amritsar saw the mercury settle at lows of 1.6 and 1.8 degrees, respectively. Western parts of Rajasthan continued to be in the grip of the intense cold with Jaisalmer recording the lowest minimum in the state at 1.7 degrees.
The night temperature at Ajmer touched 5.7 degrees while Jaipur and Kota were comparatively warmer at 10.2 and 12.3 degrees, respectively.
The weather was mainly dry over eastern Uttar Pradesh even as light to moderate rainfall occurred at a few places in the western parts of the state.
Bareilly, Jhansi, Agra, Aligarh, Shahjahanpur and Orai received 10mm rainfall each with Etawah recording the coldest temperature in the state at 5.6 degrees.