Bihar towns reel in coldest yet temperatures



Patna, Jan 9 (IANS) Mercury plummetted to its lowest in decades in parts of Bihar - to the freezing point in Gopalganj and a mere 1.1 degrees Celsius in capital city Patna - the Met Office here said Wednesday.
The state has been reeling under intense cold wave conditions for the past five days, and low temperatures would continue for another two days, the weather office said.

In view of the prevailing cold wave, all public and private schools in Patna have been closed rill Jan 10, District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Singh said.

"Patna recorded the minimum temperature of 1.1 degrees Celsius early Wednesday morning. It is the lowest temperature recorded ever here as per the data available with us," A.K. Sen of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said here.

Along with Patna, Bhagalpur also recorded the temperature of 1.1 degrees Celsius while in Purnea the minimum temperature stood at 2.5 degrees Celsius.

Rajesh Kumar, a scientist at IMD, told IANS that the coldest place in the state was Sipaya in Gopalganj district, where the mercury touched the freezing point.

"It was lowest in Gopalganj," he said.

"Bihar continued to shiver in icy winds and biting cold and normal life was badly affected," an official of the state disaster management department said.

The bone-chilling north-westerly winds continued blowing across the state and people are unlikely to get any respite from it for at least 48 hours, Sen said here.

A dense fog enveloped the state, disrupting air and rail services for last several days. Taking serious note of prevailing cold wave, Governor Devanand Konwar asked the Indian Red Cross Society's Bihar branch to immediately distribute 2,000 blankets to the needy.

The Bihar government is yet to confirm any death due to the cold wave but unconfirmed reports from various districts put the toll at over 50 in the last 72 hours.

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