No respite from cold conditions in Kashmir valley
Srinagar: There was little respite from the intense cold wave conditions in Kashmir on Wednesday as the minimum temperature across the valley stayed several degrees below the freezing point, a MET department official said.
Srinagar city recorded a low of minus 6 degrees Celsius, up from minus 7 degrees Celsius the previous night, the official said.
The minimum temperature in the city on Tuesday night was nearly four degrees below normal for this time of the year, he said.
The minimum temperature at the Gulmarg skiing resort in north Kashmir's Baramulla district settled at minus 6.5 degrees Celsius on Tuesday night, down from minus 6.3 degrees Celsius the night earlier.
Pahalgam tourist resort, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 8.3 degrees Celsius marginally up from the previous night's minus 8.4 degrees Celsius.
Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded a minimum of 8.7 degrees Celsius and was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, the official said.
Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 5.8 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag in south recorded minus 7.9 degrees Celsius.
Several water bodies in the valley have frozen due to the bone chilling cold.
A thick layer of ice settles over several roads in the city and elsewhere in the valley, making it difficult for motorists to drive in the early hours. However, the situation improves as valley is experiencing unusual winter sunshine.
The MET department has forecast a Western Disturbance to affect the union territory for a few days from January 22.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' -- the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.
While 'Chillai-Kalan' which began on December 21 -- will end on January 31, the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day-long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).