Alarge part of the country is set to face intense cold conditions over the next few days with the weather department on Tuesday issuing an orange alert for the northern plains, which are also forecast to witness foggy conditions.
In the South, meanwhile, isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall is very likely over Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and Karaikal over the next two-three days, the India Meteorological Department said in a bulletin.
It said the minimum temperatures are very likely to fall by 2-5 degrees Celsius over most parts of East India, Central India over the next two-three days, while the spell of intense cold can extend beyond that in the Northwest part of the country.
The bulletin said dense to very dense foggy conditions are very likely over isolated places in Northwest India during the next 4-5 days.
With temperatures falling, an orange alert was issued by the IMD for the northern plains with a forecast of a cold wave for the next four days. A similar alert has been sounded for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with a forecast of heavy rains.
''Due to the prevalence of dry north/northwesterly winds, the minimum temperature is very likely to be below normal over most parts of northwest India during next 4-5 days which are very likely to cause cold day/severe cold day conditions at some parts of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand during next three days.
''Cold wave/severe cold wave conditions at some parts are also very likely over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi and in isolated parts over Uttar Pradesh, north Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan during next three days,'' the IMD said.
The IMD has four colour codes signifying the intensity of weather events. While an orange alert is an indication to be prepared for likely extreme conditions, red is a warning to take action to protect life and property from extremely bad weather.
Green indicates normal conditions and yellow is for keeping a watch for a deterioration in the weather.
Delhi's minimum temperature dropped to 4.3 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, and is likely to dip further in the coming days. The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded a minimum of 4.3 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal, an IMD official said. Himachal Pradesh's Keylong, Kalpa and Bhuntar shivered at sub-zero temperature on Tuesday, the meteorological department said. Keylong, the administrative centre of Lahaul and Spiti, continued to be the coldest place in the state at minus 10 degrees Celsius, Shimla MeT centre director Manmohan Singh said.
Cold to severe cold conditions prevailed over parts of Uttar Pradesh with Kanpur being the coldest city in the state where the mercury dipped to 4.4 degrees Celsius.
Dense fog to very dense fog enveloped some places in the state. State capital Lucknow recorded a minimum temperature of 7.7 degrees Celsius, and Agra 5.4 degrees Celsius.
Cold wave conditions continued unabated in parts of Rajasthan too with the state's only hill station Mount Abu freezing at sub-zero temperatures.
Punjab and Haryana too reeled under intense cold weather conditions with Hisar being the coldest place in the region. Bihar, too, witnessed intense cold conditions.