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Jharkhand joins cold wave club

Jamshedpur, Jan. 8: Weathermen have sounded a moderate cold wave alert for isolated pockets of Ranchi, Daltonganj, Bokaro, Latehar and Garhwa in the next 24 hours after the mercury took a sudden plunge in Jharkhand today, pushing night temperatures down to three-four notches below normal.

“Classic dry winter, clear sky and dominating north-westerly winds have made a comeback in the state. The cyclonic circulation, which had resulted in rain and clouds, has cleared. Minimum readings are low and will nosedive further,” said A.K. Sen, director of Patna Meteorological Centre.

Kanke block held on to its position as the cold champ of the state with a minimum of 4C, against yesterday’s 6.1C. Barely 10km from the capital, Kanke had touched freezing point in 2010.

Ranchi recorded a minimum of 5.6C, the second-lowest reading of this season. Yesterday and the day before, the local observatory in Ranchi had clocked night readings of 8C and 13.8C (see chart).

In the past 24 hours, Jamshedpur and its adjoining areas saw a sharp fall of four degrees in minimum readings. The steel hub today recorded night temperature of 9C against yesterday’s 13C. The reading today was three notches below the average normal.

Palamau headquarters Daltonganj today shivered at 6.4C against yesterday’s 6.5C. The reading was four degrees below the average normal and a further dip is likely in the next 24 hours.

Last year on January 14, it registered the season’s lowest of 4.9C.

In several districts, including Hazaribagh, Koderma, West Singhbhum, Khunti, Simdega and Latehar, night temperatures plummeted to three to four notches below normal.

However, there wasn’t much variation in the minimum readings of Dhanbad and Bokaro, where the mercury hovered between 7 and 8 degrees today.

Weathermen said biting cold and wily north wind would continue for another couple of days.

“The chill has intensified due to cold and dry north-westerlies. The cold wave prevailing in large parts of northern India is also impacting Jharkhand’s weather,” said B.K. Mandal, director of Ranchi Meteorological Centre.

Weathermen at Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore, Calcutta, agreed the north-westerlies were pulling the mercury down now but warned of a roller-coaster Celsius ride ahead.

“The minimum temperature will rise after the next 48 hours. Then, it will take a plunge again around January 13-14,” said a duty officer at the Calcutta-based Met office.