A man pedals along the blurred bridge over Garga River in Bokaro on Thursday. (Pankaj Singh)
Weathermen’s predictions for Kanke became chillingly true on Thursday.
The Ranchi district block, on the outskirts of the capital, kissed the freezing point in the small hours, albeit for a brief seven-eight minutes, in a bone-numbing reminder of the winter of 2010.
Bokaro Thermal in Bokaro district remained a close competitor at 0.2°C.
Subnormal minimum temperatures elsewhere in the state prompted the Patna Meteorological Office to extend the cold wave alert in Jharkhand for another 24 hours.
According to weather scientist A. Wadood, who is associated with Birsa Agriculture University in Kanke, the mercury dipped to 0°C in the hinterland around 3.30am.
“Temperatures reaching the freezing point is a rare phenomenon in this part of India. It has now happened twice in Jharkhand,” he said.
Kanke’s last date with 0°C was on January 11, 2010.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the zero feeling did not last for long this time.
“By 3.40am, the minimum reading increased to 1°C. Kanke must have stayed at the freezing point for some 7-8 minutes. Since the duration was very brief, there was no damage to crops,” Wadood said.
As expected, minimum temperatures also plunged in Daltonganj, Hazaribagh, Lohardaga, Giridih and several other places. Night temperatures dipped in districts like Koderma, Deoghar, Latehar, Simdega, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan in the past 24 hours.
The capital too shivered at 6.4°C for the second consecutive day, the reading being four degrees below normal. The Jamshedpur weather office read 8.3°C, also four notches below the average normal.
The minimum in Seraikela-Kharsawan was four degrees below normal. The observatory in Daltonganj recorded 5.1°C, five notches below normal, against 6°C on Wednesday.
The statewide Celsius free fall spurred weathermen to extend the cold wave alert for another 24 hours. However, they hinted that there would not be any significant change in night temperatures after that.
“The north-westerly wind is dominating over the state. But, chart analysis suggests that the easterly component is gradually becoming active. This may result in moisture incursion into the atmosphere,” explained A.K. Sen, the director of Patna Met office.
Most districts on Thursday witnessed clear skies, characteristic of winter. Humidity was low, which dragged the minimum further down.
Weathermen at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Calcutta confirmed that cold wave conditions would prevail in several parts of Jharkhand in the next 24 hours.
Last year, minimum temperatures in most parts of the state had hovered between 6°C and 9°C. A cold wave had swept for 11 days from January 3.