New Delhi: North India is experiencing a cold wave that has brought down the minimum temperature to below 10 degrees Celsius in many parts of the region. The cold wave is expected to persist for the next few days, with some areas likely to face severe cold wave conditions, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The IMD has also issued a rain alert for several states from January 31 to February 4, due to the influence of a western disturbance. A western disturbance is an extratropical storm originating in the Mediterranean region that brings sudden winter rain and snow to the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent⁵. The western disturbance is also responsible for the dense fog that has reduced visibility in the mornings and evenings.
The IMD has predicted light to moderate rain or thundershowers in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim from January 31 to February 4. The rain may increase the cold and lower the temperature by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius in these states. The IMD has also warned of cold day or severe cold day conditions in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the maximum temperature is below normal by 4.5 degrees Celsius or more.
In the hilly regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, the IMD has forecast light to moderate rain and snowfall with heavy rain or snow at some places from January 31 to February 2. The rain and snow may cause landslides, avalanches, and road blockages in these areas. The IMD has advised people to avoid traveling to high-altitude areas during this period.
The IMD has also issued a yellow alert for dense fog in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, where the visibility may drop to less than 500 meters. The fog may also affect the air, rail, and road traffic in these states. The IMD has advised people to take precautions such as wearing warm clothes, avoiding outdoor activities, driving slowly and carefully, and eating nutritious food to cope with the cold waves, rain, and fog.