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Capital shivers at six

Patna, Dec. 16: Citizens suffered cold shock this morning, as the mercury slipped to 6.6C at 6.30.

Students shivered on their way to school and professionals starting early for office quivered, as the minimum temperature dropped drastically by 4.8C today. The lowest temperature recorded yesterday was 11.4C.

Ravi Verma, a resident of Ashiana Nagar, did not send her daughter school because of the morning chill. My daughter, a Class IX student of Mount Carmel, was shivering on her way to the bus stand despite wearing pullovers and blazers. So, I took her back home, he said.

Dense fog worsened the situation. Commuters had to tread cautiously on streets all through the day because of poor visibility. Not a single flight landed at Jaiprakash Narayan International Airport till 3pm. Two flights were cancelled.

Jet Airways cancelled its Patna-Lucknow-Mumbai flight (9W 2513). Indigo suspended its Patna-Lucknow (6E 339) service because of bad weather.

The mercury did not climb much as the day progressed because of the fog and chilly northerly wind. The days maximum temperature was 16.1C.

The night was no better. The visibility was around 100m around 8.30pm. Most of the streets were deserted by 9pm because of the fog and the chill in the air.

Met department attributed the dip in mercury to the chilly northerly wind blowing from snowfall-hit Himalayan region. It forecasted similar weather for the next 48 hours.

Animesh Chanda, the director of Patna Met department, said: Cold and foggy conditions will prevail in the state capital during the next 48 hours. The maximum temperature would hover around 18C and the minimum would be about 6C. Such temperature conditions would be accompanied by fog in the morning and clear sky in the later part of the day, said Chanda, adding that a cold wave alert had been sounded in all the districts for the next 24 hours.

The sharp decline in the minimum temperature startled Chanda.

The fall in minimum temperature in Patna from 11.4C recorded yesterday to 6.6C today has surprised us. Patna was the only place in the state where the minimum temperature increased from Wednesdays 10C to 11.4C on Thursday. So, we were expecting a further rise in the minimum temperature in the capital today. But the reality was contrary to our expectations. We are assessing the reason for such an unusual development, Chanda said.

P. Parthasarthy, faculty and academic co-ordinator, Centre for Environment Science, Central University of Bihar, said: The minimum temperature hovering around 6C in December is an usual temperature pattern of the winter season in Patna. Northerly winds blowing from the Himalayan region causes chilly condition all across the state during this time every year. The sharp fall in the minimum temperature in the city is likely to result in dense fog up to the earths surface on Saturday.

Gaya coldest

Gaya was the coldest district in the state today with a minimum temperature of 5.2C. In Chhapra, the minimum temperature was 7.4C.