Bone-biting cold has gripped many parts of the country again with the season’s lowest temperature recorded at 5.6 degrees Celsius in Sreemangal of Moulivbazar district on Friday.
The chilly weather coupled with dense fog and frosty winds was disrupting daily life as well as road, air and waterway transport across the country. The low-income people who get by working every day were being hit hardest.
According to Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), a mild to moderate cold wave was sweeping over Rangpur division and the districts of Faridpur, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Rajshahi, Pabna, Naogaon, Sirajganj, Moulvibazar, Rangamati, Cumilla, Feni, Jashore, Chuadanga, Kushtia, Barishal and Bhola.
The cold snap may continue for a few more days, it said.
Moderate to thick fog may occur over the river basins and light to moderate fog elsewhere over the country during midnight till morning, the BMD said, adding that night and day temperature may remain nearly unchanged over the country.
Since Friday morning, the sun has not been seen in many districts of the country throughout the day.
The residents of Moulvibazar were bearing the brunt of the biting cold as the mercury dipped to 5.6 degrees Celsius in Sreemangal on Friday, country’s lowest temperature this season.
According to the BMD, the lowest temperature recorded in Sreemangal was 2.8 degrees Celsius on February 4, 1968 and the lowest temperature in the country was 3.3 degrees Celsius on January 29, 1966.
In the last 24 hours, the highest temperature in the country was 19.2 degrees Celsius recorded in Teknaf. Meanwhile, the mercury dipped to as low as 12.3 degrees Celsius in Dhaka. An intense cold wave is currently sweeping through Sreemangal upazila, said Anisur Rahman, an official at the local Met office.
The winter chill has been intensifying since the beginning of January, according to Mujibur Rahman, another official at the district's meteorological department.
The chilly weather has left the elderly and children reeling. “I haven’t felt cold of such intensity for a long time. I can't get up in the morning and touch water. It's very difficult to move around,” said Sumati Malakar, a 60-year-old resident of Sreemangal's Sabujbagh.
Poor people like day labourers and auto-rickshaw drivers were suffering most due to the biting cold.
Akkas Ali, who works in a restaurant in Kanaipur Bazar in Faridpur, said his fingers were numb with cold as he had to touch water frequently. “Despite that, I have to continue my work. Or else, the restaurant owner won’t pay me.”
The number of patients with cold-related problems was also rising at hospitals and many people were seen standing in long queues at local hospitals to take medical treatment.
Ferry services on the Paturia-Daulatdia route was disrupted due to dense fog.
Mohiuddin Russell, manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation at Paturia office, said thick fog blanketed the river routes, forcing them to suspend the ferry movement.