Intensifying cold wave conditions in parts of northern India has left residents shivering as temperatures dipped in the area on Sunday (December 20).

The IMD declares a cold wave when the minimum temperature is 10 degrees Celsius or below and is 4.5 notches less than the normal for two consecutive days.

There was no respite for locals in northern Varanasi city, as they struggled to carry out their daily activities in the bone-chilling cold. While some sat near the fire to warm themselves, others sipped tea to beat the cold.

In New Delhi, the situation was similar where residents dressed in multiple layers of clothing as they stepped out. Delhi on Sunday recorded the coldest morning of the season so far at 3.4 degrees Celsius, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Cold wave conditions prevailed in Rajasthan, with the state’s only hill station, Mount Abu, recording a low of minus 1.4 degrees Celsius, while isolated places in east Uttar Pradesh witnessed cold to severe cold conditions.

Cold wave conditions were also observed at isolated places in Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, Muzaffarabad, Uttarakhand, west Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Snowfall in states like Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh has a direct impact in other northern states like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Parts of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar city have frozen which makes rowing of boats very difficult in such parts of the lake.

The IMD had earlier said night temperatures would continue to be below normal in north India over the next week. In its forecast from December 17-24 and from December 24-30, the IMD said the minimum temperatures would be below normal by 2-6 degrees over most parts of northwest, central and east India.

South Asia’s winters are not as cold as other regions such as North America, but the millions of poor here are hit harder because they live in the open and do not have enough warm clothes and often die.

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