Lucknow/Srinagar: Near-freezing temperatures and icy Himalayan winds have killed nearly 100 people across northern India since a cold snap began three weeks ago.
The worst-hit state is Uttar Pradesh, where at least 81 people, mostly poor and homeless, have died due to the intense chill.
Police spokesperson Surendra Srivastav said on Monday that at least 13 of them had died overnight.
In New Delhi, 10 people have died due to the cold in the past two weeks, while another six deaths were reported from eastern Jharkhand.
Meanwhile, cold wave intensify in northern Kashmir, with Leh in Ladakh region recording minus 20.2 degree celsius.
The mercury plunged by seven degrees in Leh on Sunday night as compared to Saturday’s low of minus 13 degree celsius, a MeT department official said.
The minimum temperature in nearby Kargil town also dipped by 2.8 degrees to settle at minus 15.8 degrees celsius.
In Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the night temperature dipped by more than two notches and settled at minus 2.2 degrees celsius. The city had recorded minus 0.1 degrees celsius on Sunday.
The hill resort of Pahalgam was the coldest place in the Valley, recording a low of minus 11.7 degrees celsius, which was 2.7 degrees lower than Sunday’s.
Gulmarg, a skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a minimum temperature of minus 11 degrees celsius, 3.3 notches down from Sunday’s.
The high altitude areas, including Pahalgam and Gulmarg, received light snowfall over the weekend but clear skies on Sunday night resulted in a sharp dip in minimum temperature across the Valley.
The night temperature at Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir, fell further to settle at minus 6 degree celsius, four notches less than Sunday’s.
Kokernag town in southern Anantnag district and Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded minus 3.9 degrees celsius and minus 4.4 degrees celsius respectively.
The Kashmir valley is in the grip of an intense cold wave as it witnesses forty days of harsh winter, locally called ‘Chillai Kalaan’.
The Disaster Management Cell has predicted snowfall beginning 12 January for over four days.
While the Himalayan region witnessed early snowfall in October, there was a two-month dry spell which ended with another snowfall on New Year’s eve.