Drass freezes at minus 24.6 degrees Celsius, Gulmarg shivers at minus 9, Srinagar-Leh Highway, Mughal Road closed for 6th day
While a cold wave has gripped Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, Drass froze at minus 24.6 degrees Celsius on Sunday night, making it the coldest recorded temperature of the season in the region so far. As per Meteorological Department, Leh recorded minus 13.2 degrees and Kargil minus 11.8 degrees Celsius on Sunday night.
The ski-resort Gulmarg in Baramulla also recorded the coldest night of the season so far at minus 9 degrees Celsius while summer capital Srinagar recorded minus 1.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday night.
MeT officials said with “clear sky and dry weather likely to continue for next few days”, night temperatures are expected to witness a further decrease.
“Till the end of this month minimum temperature in Gulmarg will fall by 2 or 3 degrees further. Even in the plains we expect to record a major drop in night temperatures during the next one week as we approach Chillai Kalan,” said Deputy Director MeT, Mukhar Ahmad.
As per MeT data, in December 1994 minimum temperature in Gulmarg had touched minus 14 degrees, which in the last three decades is the lowest for the ski-resort in the month of December. “Skies remaining clear and chilling winds are factors leading to sharp decrease in temperatures,” Ahmad said.
As per Indian Meteorological Department data, lowest minimum temperature at Gulmarg in the month of December, in the last 12 years was minus 12.5 degrees on December 24, 2015.
This December temperature in the tourism hub, located in the foothills of Affarvat mountains, has witnessed a sharp decrease from minus 3.7 degrees recorded on December 10 to minus 9 degrees on December 13 night.
It may be recalled that Chillai Kalan (harshest period of cold) starts from December 21 and ends on January 30, during which chances of snowfall are maximum.
Jammu recorded the coldest day of the season on Monday, with the maximum temperature dipping to 11.6 degrees Celsius — 9.8 degrees below normal during this time of the season.
Srinagar-Leh highway closed
The Srinagar-Leh National Highway continued to remain closed for the sixth consecutive day due to accumulation of snow, Traffic officials said.
The authorities had pressed men and machinery to clear the snow and a major stretch on the road was made travel-worthy but accumulation of snow is quite large and time consuming to clear, officials said.
Day 6: Mughal Road remains closed
The historic Mughal Road continued to remain closed on the sixth straight day Monday even as there was fresh snowfall at Pir Ki Gali and other areas.
The road had got closed on Wednesday due to heavy snowfall at Pir Ki Gali. “From Poshana onwards, the road remains closed with around two-and-half feet deep snow at Poshana,” DSP Surankote, Khaliq Hussain said.
He said that around two kilometers of road was cleared of snow at Poshana for there was an encounter on Sunday, “but it became impossible for men and machinery to clear the snow ahead of that point”.
He said that even today there was fresh snowfall at Pir Ki Gali and the snow accumulated there was around five feet deep.
Meanwhile, the road between Thanamandi and Surankote via DKG is yet to be restored for traffic.