Deadly cold spell hits India

Tuesday 04th Jan 2011 by theWeather Club

It seems that the New Year is continuing where the old one left off with extreme weather events continuing to strike across the globe. India is the latest country to suffer under a spell of extreme weather. An intense cold spell has disrupted life across northern parts of the country, reportedly claiming the lives of at least two dozen people.

Indian-administered Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and even the nation’s capital Delhi, have been badly affected. Many of these are used to cold winters due to their altitude, but the temperatures have plummeted suddenly and to levels far below normal. In the Leh region of Kashmir, thermometers sat at -23.6°C – the state's lowest of the winter so far – for two days. So far the state of Uttar Pradesh has suffered the most casualties with a man of 70 and a two-year-old child succumbing to the freezing temperatures.

Throughout the region homeless people have resorted to lighting fires beside the streets and crowding around them to try and keep warm, and at night the shelters for the poor are being overwhelmed as people flee the deadly temperatures. Schools have been shut in the Bihar and Rajasthan, the latter state registering a record low of -24°C. However the cold wave is being felt most intensely in Kashmir with the summer capital, Srinagar, suffering sub-zero temperatures. Even the highway linking Kashmir with the rest of India has been shut due to snow.

Unfortunately is seems the people of the area will have to suffer for a bit longer – the cold weather is being caused in part by winds coming down the north of the country which look set to continue for a while yet.