There was slight improvement in cold conditions in Kashmir as the minimum temperature rose across the valley on Thursday, even as the MET Office forecast the possibility of light snow over two days from Saturday.
The night temperature marked an improvement but continued to settle below the freezing point, MET officials said.
The weather has remained dry and cold across Kashmir since the snowfall on December 12, with the night temperature staying several degrees below the freezing point, they said. The officials said Srinagar — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir — recorded a low of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius –up from the previous night’s minus 5 degrees Celsius.
They said the mercury in Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir went up from the previous night’s low of minus 6.6 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius. They said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius – slightly up from Wednesday’s minus 6 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg was the coldest recorded place in the valley. Qazigund – the gateway town to the valley – recorded the minimum of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in the north, registered a low of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius and Kokernag, in the south, minus 3 degrees Celsius, the officials said.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum. ‘Chillai-Kalan’, which began on December 21, is considered the harshest winter period in Kashmir as 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 most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall, the officials said. While ‘Chillai-Kalan’ 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).
The MET Office has said the weather is likely to remain mainly dry till December 25, but there is a possibility of light in the valley for two days from Saturday. There is no forecast of any major snowfall activity till the end of this month, it added.