Freezing cold conditions in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh claimed seven lives with mercury dipping three notches below normal in most places even as dense fog continued to throw normal life out of gear in the region.
The mercury plummeted to three degrees Celsius below normal in most parts of Punjab and Haryana, the MeT office said, adding that the minimum temperatures would further fall in the days ahead in view of western disturbances adjacent to the region.
While five persons lost their lives in Bathinda district of Punjab due to bone freezing cold wave, the cold conditions claimed two lives in Fatehabad district of Haryana in the past 24 hours, official sources said here.
With the seven deaths, the total number of people who have succumbed due to biting cold conditions in Punjab and Haryana rose to 11 during the current winter season. Out of these nine deaths have taken place in Punjab.
Most of the people who lost their lives in Bathinda and Fatehabad were labourers and had slept out during night time, sources said.
In plains of Punjab and Haryana, Hisar recorded the lowest temperature with a minimum of 1.9 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal.
While Narnaul battled a low of 2 deg Celsius, three notches below normal, the minimum at Bhiwani was 2.4 degrees Celsius.
Among other places, Patiala settled at a low of 2.5 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal, followed by 3.4 deg C at Chandigarh, two notches below normal, 3.8 deg Celsius at Ambala, two notches below normal, 4.8 deg C at Ludhiana, one notch below normal and 6.3 degrees C at Amritsar.
Chandigarh with a low of 3.4 degrees Celsius recorded the lowest minimum temperature in the on-going winter season, the MeT office said here.
Meanwhile, a thick blanket of fog reduced visibility in the region crippling the air, rail and road traffic, officials said here.
While motorists on highways were moving at a slow pace with headlights on due to reduced visibility, several trains, including Malwa express, Shatbadi, Howrah mail, Shan-e-Punjab, Tata Moori, and Barmer express are running hours behind their schedule time.
Flights from Chandigarh airport remained grounded due to poor visibility, officials said.
Besides, tripping of power supply and low pressure of water supply had compounded the problems of the people in the region.
The MeT forecast no respite from on-going intense cold wave in the region during the next 24 hours with possibility of further dropping of minimum temperatures and foggy conditions to continue blinding the area.