Icy Siberian winds have chilled northern India and will intensify in the days ahead, making the winter even more severe, and highlighting the uncanny rise in extreme weather patterns such as droughts, hot spells and torrential downpours like the one that swamped Mumbai in 2005.
For companies selling beverages, winter-wear and heaters, business is booming with sales rising up to 40% in one of the coldest Indian winters in decades, but farmers are getting anxious about the impact on vegetables, pulses and oilseeds although the wheat crop is secure. The weather office says there is no quick relief in the offing.
"There's no respite from the bone-chilling cold. A high-pressure system created over Siberia is pushing cold waves to India. The system doesn't phase out and persists at least for a couple of weeks once it is created," said Laxman Singh Rathore, director-general, India Meteorological Department.