Srinagar: Cold wave conditions intensified in Kashmir on Friday as mercury plunged by two degrees in Srinagar, while the minimum temperature elsewhere in the valley stayed mostly 10 degrees below freezing point, officials said.
Srinagar city recorded a low of minus 7.7 degrees Celsius – plunging more than two degrees from minus 5.6 degrees Celsius the previous night, the officials said.
Qazigund – the gateway town to the valley – recorded a minimum of 10.8 degrees Celsius – down from minus 10.5 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said.
The minimum temperature at the Gulmarg skiing resort, in north Kashmir”s Baramulla district, settled at minus 11.3 degrees Celsius last night – up from last night”s minus 13.4 degrees Celsius.
Pahalgam tourist resort, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 12 degrees Celsius – marginally up from previous night”s minus 12.3 degrees Celsius.
Kupwara recorded a low of minus 3 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag, in the south, minus 11.4 degrees Celsius.The extreme subzero temperatures have resulted in freezing of water bodies and drinking water supply lines in many areas of the valley.
The minimum temperatures are expected to remain below freezing point for the next few days as the weatherman has forecast the possibility of a western disturbance hitting the valley on February 2.
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.
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).