New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) Cold wave conditions continued to prevail in the northern states of the country on Wednesday, while dense fog enveloped several areas, including Jammu where nine flights were cancelled due to poor visibility.

The India Meteorological Department said a cold wave swept through Delhi as the minimum temperature dipped to 3.5 degrees Celsius.    The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded a minimum of 3.5 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 16.4 degrees Celsius.

The weather stations at Jafarpur and Lodhi Road recorded a low of 3.5 degrees Celsius and 3.7 degrees Celsius, respectively, it said.

During nighttime, "dense" fog reduced visibility to 50 meters in the Palam area. However, it improved to 400 meters by 9 am. The visibility at Safdarjung was 500 meters.

Delhi's air quality was recorded in the "poor" category on Wednesday. The city's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was 290.

Nine flights to and from Jammu Airport were cancelled as a dense fog enveloped the region for a second day, while the prevailing cold wave condition tightened its grip after the recent snowfall in the high altitude areas.

Jammu Airport Director Pravat Ranjan Beuria said five more flights have been delayed.

A dense fog returned to Jammu city amid a drop in the night temperature which settled at 2.9 degrees Celsius, 4.5 notches below normal during this part of the season.

However, the sun came out around noon provided some relief from the bone-chilling cold and improvement in the visibility in some areas.

Bhaderwah in Doda district was the coldest recorded place in Jammu region with a low of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, a spokesman of the MET department said.

The shrine atop Trikuta hills and adjoining areas also experienced the first snowfall of the season on the weekend.

Intense cold wave conditions swept Kashmir as the mercury fell below the freezing point across the valley.

The cloud cover ahead of Tuesday's snowfall had kept the night temperature around the freezing point for two consecutive nights in most parts of the valley but the respite ended as the mercury plunged to minus 11 degrees in Gulmarg in north Kashmir, the officials said.

They said Gulmarg tourist destination was the coldest recorded place in the valley.

Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 9 degrees Celsius -- a drop of six notches in 24 hours.

The officials said the minimum temperature in Srinagar - the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir - was minus 2.2 degrees Celsius on Tuesday night.

There was dense to very dense fog at isolated places in western Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday and cold wave conditions prevailed at a few places across the state.

The Lucknow meteorological office said day temperatures fell markedly in Allahabad division, while there was no large change in the state's other divisions.

The day temperature was appreciably below normal in Jhansi, Agra and Meerut divisions and normal in the others. The lowest temperature in the state was recorded in Fursatganj at 3.6 degrees Celsius, while the highest was recorded in Banda at 23.6 degrees Celsius.

The weather office forecast said it would most likely remain dry in the state and warned that dense fog was likely in western UP and isolated places in the eastern part of the state.

Cold wave conditions are likely to prevail at isolated places in the state, the weather office said.

The Meteorological Department has forecast rain and snowfall in Himachal Pradesh from January 3 to 5. The Shimla MeT Centre has predicted rainfall in plains and low hills, and rain and snowfall in mid and high hills of the state from Sunday to Tuesday.  Meanwhile, the weather remained dry in the state in the last 24 hours, Shimla MeT centre director Manmohan Singh said.  Keylong, Kalpa, Manali, Dalhousie and Kufri shivered at sub-zero temperature on Wednesday, Singh said.  Tribal district Lahaul-Spiti's administrative centre Keylong remained the coldest place in the state at minus 12.7 degrees Celsius, he said.  Shimla recorded a low of 0.9 degree Celsius.

Cold conditions persisted in parts of Rajasthan where mercury dipped below freezing point at two places.

Mount Abu shivered at minus 4 degrees Celsius, while in the plains Churu was the coldest, recording a minimum temperature of minus 1.5 degrees Celsius followed by Pilani where the mercury settled at 0.5 degrees.

Cold wave conditions prevailed in most parts of Punjab and Haryana, even as a thick layer of fog enveloped the two states in the morning.

The minimum temperatures hovered well below the normal limits at most places, even though there was a marginal increase as compared to Tuesday's temperatures.

At a low of 1.8 degrees Celsius, Amritsar was the coldest place in Punjab.

Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, also experienced a cold night at 4.6 degrees Celsius.

Narnaul was the coldest place in Haryana recording a low of 2.4 degrees Celsius, while Hisar, Sirsa and Bhiwani also reeled under biting chill with respective minimum temperatures of 3.7, 3.6 and 3.9 degrees Celsius.

According to the MeT department officials, barring Rohtak, a thick blanket of fog enveloped the two states in the morning, reducing visibility levels.