With fresh snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, foggy morning in New Delhi delayed 760 flights and led to the cancellation of 19, while over 100 trains remained up to two hours behind schedule. The national capital also braved a cold day with the minimum temperature settling at 6.4 degrees Celsius. Officials said visibility reduced to zero at some places in the morning affecting and train and plane services.
"Nineteen flights were cancelled, five were diverted and 760 were delayed due to dense fog that enveloped the national capital on Friday morning," said a Delhi airport official.
Meanwhile, visibility was zero at Palam and 300 metres at Safdarjung at 5.30 am which improved after a while. Railway officials confirmed that more than 100 trains were delayed by up to two hours.
The maximum temperature on Friday was recorded at 17.5 degrees Celsius, five notches below the season's average. Due to low temperature and high humidity, the air quality was in the "severe" category in the morning. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, Delhi's AQI at 8 am was at 430.
Severe cold conditions
The Met department has forecast "severe cold conditions" accompanied by light rain drizzle in the city for Saturday.
Some higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh received fresh snowfall on Friday with the forecast of heavy rain and snowfall till December 21. However, the minimum and maximum temperatures in the state increased by a few notches since Thursday.
Lahaul-Spiti's administrative centre Keylong experienced 5 cm snowfall followed by Gandhola witnessing 3 cm and Kinnaur's Kalpa getting 1 cm.
The coldest place in the state was Keylong where the minimum settled at minus 6 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature in Kalpa was 0.7 degrees Celsius.
Famous tourist destination Manali recorded a low of 2 degrees Celsius followed by Kufri registering 4 degrees Celsius, Dalhousie at 4.3 degrees Celsius and Shimla at 6.3 degrees Celsius.
Up north, moderate snowfall began in most parts of Kashmir Friday afternoon. Twelve flights to and from the Srinagar airport were cancelled due to the bad weather conditions.
Severe cold wave conditions gripped Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after the snowfall with the meteorological department also forecasting fairly widespread rains and snowfall in J-K and at isolated places in Ladakh over the next two days.
The adverse weather conditions also forced the suspension of traffic on the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway around 5.30 pm, leaving thousands of Valley-bound vehicles stranded. Jawahar Tunnel - the gateway to Kashmir - recorded about six inches of snow by this evening, a traffic department official said.
The night temperature in most parts of the two Union Territories saw a dip, with Drass belt of Ladakh recording the lowest temperature of minus 16.1 degrees Celsius, while Banihal belt in Jammu region was the coldest area in the region at minus 1.5 degrees Celsius. Kashmir's Gulmarg belt registered minus 6.5 degrees Celsius.
Jammu city registered a low of 8.2 degrees Celsius -- 2.4 notches below normal, a meteorological department official said.
Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district, registered a night temperature of 5 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night's 4.6 degrees Celsius.
Srinagar recorded a low of minus 2.6 degrees Celsius against the previous night's minus 2.3 degrees Celsius, while the famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir was the coldest place in the valley with a minimum of 6.5 degrees Celsius.
Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir was freezing at minus 4.1 degrees Celsius, the official said.
In Haryana and Punjab also, cold weather conditions persisted on Friday also as Hisar (Haryana) recorded the lowest temperature across the two states at 4.5 degrees Celsius.
Karnal, too, braved the chill at a low of 6 degrees Celsius while Narnaul registered a minimum of 5.5 degrees Celsius, a meteorological department official said here.
Ambala recorded a low of 8.6 degrees Celsius while Rohtak, Bhiwani and Sirsa experienced a cold night recording lows of 6.8, 6.3 and 6.1 degrees Celsius, respectively.
In Punjab, Bathinda recorded a low of 6.5 degrees Celsius while Patiala, too, shivered at a low of 7.6 degrees Celsius.
Amritsar (7.4), Adampur (7.9), Halwara (7.5), Faridkot (7.8) and Gurdaspur (6.9) also experienced a cold night. However, Ludhiana registered an above normal minimum at 9.2 degrees Celsius.
The Union territory of Chandigarh, the common capital of both states, recorded a minimum of 9.9 degrees Celsius.
The MeT official said fog reduced visibility in the morning at Chandigarh, Ambala, Hisar, Karnal, Narnaul, Sirsa, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Gurdaspur.
(With agency inputs)