Srinagar, Jan 16: Kashmir Valley continued to freeze as the mercury plummeted to minus 8.2°C in Srinagar, a couple of notches below the season’s coldest temperature on January 14, the chilliest night recorded in more than 25 years.
Also, dense fog engulfed Srinagar and other parts of the Valley for the second day in running, causing visibility issues for motorists in the morning.
A meteorological department official told GNS that the minimum temperature remained almost six degrees below normal in Srinagar for the fourth consecutive day.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, had recorded minus 8.4°C on January 14, minus 7.6°C on the previous night while it settled at minus 7.8°C on January 13, same as recorded eight years ago on 14 January 2012. In 1991, Srinagar witnessed a low of minus 11.8°C while the lowest ever temperature was recorded on 31 January 1893 when the mercury had gone down to minus 14.4 degrees Celsius. Dal Lake and other water bodies here have frozen further. Also, a thick layer of fog engulfed many areas in the Valley, including Srinagar, causing traffic disruptions. However, the conditions eased as the day progressed.
Meanwhile, the minimum temperatures continued far below normal in other parts of the Valley, settling at minus 9.4°C in Pahalgam against minus 8.6°C on the previous night in the world-famous health resort. Qazigund, the gateway town of J&K, recorded a low of minus 10.0°C against 8.3°C on the previous night and was the coldest place in the Valley. Kokernag recorded a low of minus 8.7°C against minus 8.4°C on the earlier night.
Against minus 5.7°C on the previous night in Kupwara, the mercury settled at minus 6.8°C in the north Kashmir district, the official said.
Gulmarg, the world-famous skiing resort, recorded a low of minus 5.4°C against minus 5.7°C on the earlier night, the official said. Leh recorded a low of minus 12.1°C against previous night’s minus 11.6°C, Kargil recorded minus 19.0°C against minus 17.6°C on the night earlier while Drass was coldest at minus 25.8°C.
Kashmir is in the middle Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day winter period which commenced on December 21 and ends on January 31. The period is considered the harshest of the winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum.
The cold wave, however, continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold). Already, Kashmir Valley received heavy snowfall earlier this month, disrupting normal life.
The Weatherman has forecast “mainly dry weather with morning fog /mist at isolated places of Kashmir Valley and plains of Jammu division.” in the next 24 hours and “no significant change till January 20. (GNS)