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Respite from cold likely for now, fog tipped to return

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Frost prevailing over parts of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh is tipped to continue through the next 24 hours and dissipate with fog settling in.

Vinson Kurian

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan. 9

A FRESH but weakened western disturbance is likely to affect Jammu and Kashmir in the next 24 hours bringing with it some respite from the cold wave to severe cold wave conditions prevailing in north and northwest India.

Most parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and parts of Bihar will continue to reel under the harsh weather till such time as the warm, rising and moist air upfront of the system drifts in, said Mr J.V. Singh of the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).

Night temperatures over northwest India are likely to look up by around three deg C with the head end approaching, but this could also bring the `fog bogey' back into the reckoning.

Frost prevailing over parts of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh is tipped to continue through the next 24 hours and dissipate with fog settling in.

A ground-level cloud induced by nocturnal radiative cooling, the fog that affects the plains of the north is of `radiative' type. It forms when radiative cooling of a ground surface cools the overlying air below its dew point.

It is more common on a clear night with light winds (less than eight km per hour) over soil saturated by a recent heavy rainfall or otherwise rapidly cooled. Radiation fog is usually a few metres deep and typically lasts for a few hours after sunrise. The duration and the thickness of the radiation fog depend on the local conditions as well as the solar heating.

Light winds are required because they can gently mix moist air near the ground. Winds that are too strong mix the air near the ground with the drier, warmer air above keeping the air near the surface from saturating.

The fresh western disturbance is expected to move in an east-northeastward direction across the hilly regions of north and northwest India.

Though too early to say with conviction, indications are that mercury would fall by Friday by the same margin it is tipped to go up in the near term, bringing cold wave conditions back to the plains.

Meanwhile in the south, an easterly wave has been causing some weather disturbance even though its further intensification is not likely.

Under its influence, scattered rainfall activity is expected over south peninsular India (south Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep) during the next two-three days.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 10, 2006)
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