Kashmir sees further drop in mercury, At -5.5°C Srinagar records coldest night; Pahalgam coldest at -6.8°C

Kashmir sees further drop in mercury, At -5.5°C Srinagar records coldest night; Pahalgam coldest at -6.8°C

‘Chilla-i-Kalan’, the 40-day harshest winter period, has made its presence felt in the Kashmir valley with Srinagar recording its coldest night this winter, even as water supply lines and interiors of the Dal Lake froze due to the cold conditions, officials said on Thursday.

The minimum temperature in Srinagar recorded on Wednesday night was minus 5.5°C, which is the lowest so far this season, they said. The city had recorded minus 4.2°C the previous night. The cold conditions led to freezing of water supply lines in many places across the Valley, even as the interior parts of the Dal Lake also developed a thick layer of frost.

People of Kashmir were eagerly waiting for snow and rains predicted by the weather office in the coming week to break the dry spell as night temperatures further plunged across the Valley on Thursday with Pahalgam experiencing a low of -6.8 degrees Celsius, the lowest so far this season.

The meteorological (MeT) department in an update said that Srinagar also recorded this season’s lowest temperature during the night at minus 5.5 degrees.

Meteorologist Farooq Ahmad Bhat said clear skies were triggering a drop in mercury. “The weather is expected to remain clear till Sunday and people should expect a further dip in temperatures,” he added.

Kashmir’s harshest 40-day winter period, Chillai Kalan, started on Wednesday with bone chilling night temperatures. On Thursday, mercury again dropped below zero at all major weather stations of Kashmir. MeT department’s weather update said the ski resort of Gulmarg recorded a low of -5.2°C against -4.6°C the previous night. The frontier Kupwara district also saw a temperature of -5.1°C.

A layer of ice has started forming on the Dal Lake during the night while water pipes have also started to freeze.

“We hope there will be snowfall soon, which will break the cold spell and augment our glaciers over the mountains. Our winter snowfall is the panacea for our summers,” said Mohammad Akbar, a local.

Meteorologist Bhat said they were also hopeful of a break in dry weather from December 26. “We expect December to end on a wet note. There will be a few days of cloudy weather from December 26 followed by light rains in plains and snowfall over the higher reaches,” he added.

He said the precipitation will mostly be between December 27 and 30. “There won’t be any major wet spell, but light precipitation that will at least increase minimum temperatures, bringing respite from the cold,” he added.

As per the MeT department, Banihal was the coldest in Jammu division at -1.2 degrees followed by Bhaderwah at -0.9 degrees. The night temperature was 7.5°C in Jammu, while it dropped to 5.6°C in Katra. Leh and Kargil in Ladakh shivered at -12°C and 12.8°C, respectively.

The precipitation in the coming week may lead to temporary disruption of surface transportation on Mughal Road, Zojila, Karna and Sadna Top.

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