Srinagar: Sub-zero temperatures returned to the Kashmir Valley as the mercury plunged with Gulmarg and Pahalgam witnessing extreme cold conditions, officials said on Tuesday.
Gulmarg, the famous ski resort in Baramulla district, recorded a low of minus 10.6 degrees Celsius. This is for the third straight night that the minimum temperature in Gulmarg has fallen to minus 10 degrees Celsius or below, meteorological officials said.
South Kashmir’s Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of minus 10.4 degrees Celsius, a drop of nearly eight degrees, they said.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, was the only place where the minimum temperature was above the freezing point at 0.2 degrees Celsius last night, the officials said.
Qazigund, the gateway town to the Valley, recorded a low of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a minimum temperature of minus 1.7 degrees Celsius, they said.
The mercury settled at a low of minus 3 degrees Celsius in north Kashmir’s Kupwara.
The MeT office said the weather is likely to stay mainly dry over the next few days.
The Kashmir Valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ that began on December 21.
During ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’, a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here, and the water supply lines in several parts of the Valley.
The chances of snowfall are the maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall.
‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ will end on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).