Cold, fog halt normal activities

Staff Reporter

The coldest winter in decades intensified further on Thursday with low pressure over Siberian region pushing chilly winds towards Bangladesh forcing the mercury to dip bellower level.

The bone-chilling weather for the last three consecutive days has almost paralysed the normal life in urban and rural areas in the country, especially in the northwest and southwest regions. Experts said, the spell is likely to continue for two more days.

The cold with equal or more severity may again sweep the country in the last week of the current month, also feared the officials of the Department of Meteorology on Thursday.

Country’s lowest temperature was recorded 3 degrees C at northern suburb Syedpur upazila in the district of Nilphamari yesterday while it was 7.6 degrees C in the country’s central part, Dhaka – lowest ever in the past decades.

The ongoing cold wave has raised the death toll at 85 in last three days. Of them, at least 10 people died in Moulvibazar, Lalmonirhat and Madaripur in last three days due to cold biting, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the meteorologists said that the strong easterly winds blowing clockwise over Himalayan Mountains bringing the dry and cold air from northern Siberia in this part of the globe.

The Meteorologist’s weather forecast was matched when the minimum temperatures yesterday were recorded 03.5°C in Rangpur, 04.8°C in Rajshahi, 07.6°C in Khulna, 08.5°C in Sylhet and 9.0°C in Chittagong. The district of Dinajpur, which recoded 3.2 degree C temperature on Wednesday, however, got a slight rise in temperature to 4.6 degrees C yesterday.

“The unusual cold wave situation, however, is yet to over and it may continue for next few days over Rajshahi, Rangpur, Dhaka, Barisal, Chittagong and Sylhet divisions,” said Shah Alam, deputy director of Department of Meteorology.

“Despite the cold wave situation, the temperatures will begin to rise by Saturday with more typical westerly winds. Winds are expected to get moderate slightly and it will feel less cold.”  He said adding that another spell of cold wave may hit the country at the month-end.

Meanwhile, the normal life in the country’s northern region was seriously affected due to the sweeping cold bite together with dense fog and chilly wind during the past three consecutive days. Hundreds of people, mostly children and elderly men, were reportedly admitted in different hospitals with cold-related diseases.

Particularly in the north and north-eastern districts, most of the people abandoned their business activities to find a warmer place as the dense fog made a thick wall hiding the sunshine all over the day. The life of people living in the slums and chars on the Ganges basin has become worst as they experience more chilly wind than that of the mainland.

The cold wave accompanied by dense fog is also causing severe disruption of air, road and river communications across the country disrupting people’s normal activities.

Road transportation was also severely disrupted due to thick fog while the ferry services at Aricha and Mawa were also hampered blocking total communications to the northeast region.

Officials said that the heavy fog led to suspension of ferry service for about ten hours between Mawa and Keorakandi as well as Paturia and Daulatdia. The suspended ferry and launch services between Paturia and Daulatdia till 10:00am yesterday, caused a two-kilometre tailback at Dauladia–Khulna highway in Rajbari. It also caused a three-kilometre long tailback on Dhaka- Paturia highway in Manikganj.

Air communication was also severely disrupted yesterday due to poor visibility in heavily dense fog at all airports.  Particularly, the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) has to bear brunt of bad weather as it rescheduled at least five flights, including an international one.

Local sources from different northern districts said that the people couldn’t see the sunlight as the sky remained covered with cloud and they witnessed drizzling like situation almost throughout the day yesterday.

However a bout of bad weather in one place can mean good weather somewhere else: Teknaf, for instance, has recorded temperatures above 20 degree C in recent days, close to the pre-summer hot. Even, the south western tourist zone Khepupara got country’s highest temperature 20.2 degrees C yesterday.

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