The Telegraph
Monday , January 7 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Celsius slide spurs shivers Schools shut, respite in sight

The cold wave sweeping north India did not spare the state capital on Sunday, dragging it down to the second lowest minimum temperature in January in the past decade. But relief is in sight by Tuesday.

The minimum temperature stood at a freezing 4ºC, which was five degrees below normal. The lowest January temperature this decade was recorded at 2.3ºC in 2003. Sunday’s maximum temperature in Patna rose to 14.1ºC, nine degrees below normal but Darbhanga recorded the day’s lowest minimum temperature in the state at 2.5ºC.

Acknowledging such extreme low temperature conditions, weathermen issued a cold wave warning across the state.

Most residents were forced to spend their Sunday indoors to avoid the chill outside. “The pleasant weather over the past week made me think that winter was on its way out. However, I think it revived overnight. I kept shivering when I stepped out to buy some groceries in the morning,” said Bina Upadhyay, a Boring Road resident.

The district administration issued a directive, asking all private and government schools to close primary section classes (standards I to V) till January 9 and hold the senior section classes between 9am and 2pm. District magistrate Sanjay Kumar Singh said wood for bonfire would be distributed at 50 places in the city but the numbers would be increased considering the extreme weather conditions.

Weathermen termed Sunday’s weather as extreme day cold conditions accompanied by wind chill factor. “High level of moisture content in the middle troposphere is blo-cking the sunrays. The penetr-ation of solar radiation on Sunday was almost a third of what it is on normal days. Wind blowing at a speed of 8-9kmph on Sunday against the normal of 4-5kmph led to the wind chill factor,” said Ashish Sen, director, India Meteorolo-gical Department, Patna.

The greater the wind speed, the faster we lose body heat, making us feel much colder. Day cold condition prevails in the atmosphere when the maximum temperature falls by five to 10 degrees Celsius below normal temperature.

However, the wind chill led to less fog. Though the day was hazy, the fog cover cleared off by 9am. “The high wind speed blows away fog,” said Sen.

The vanishing fog cover helped in smooth operations of flights from Patna airport.

Weathermen, however, claimed respite from such extreme cold weather conditions. “The high level of moisture in the atmosphere was caused by the simultaneous impact of a western disturbance and an anti-cyclonic circulation over the Odisha coast a few days ago. Both have neutralised now. The wind direction has started changing from north-westerly to westerly, which would help the present weather condition to improve in two days. Wind chill and day cold conditions would be felt on Monday too,” said Sen.

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