As the cold wave further tightened its grip over Kashmir on Thursday, Srinagar witnessed the coldest night of the season and the third-lowest December temperature in the past one decade as the mercury plummeted to a bone-chilling minus 6.4 degrees Celsius.
A Met department official said the mercury dipped to minus 6.4 degrees Celsius in Srinagar on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday from minus 4.8 degrees Celsius on the previous night. The lowest minimum temperatures in the last 10 years in December were minus 6.5 degrees Celsius on December 21, 2016, and minus 7.7 degrees Celsius on December 25, 2018. The lowest ever recorded temperature in December in Srinagar has been minus 12.6 degrees on December 13, 1964.
Portions of the Dal Lake in Srinagar city and other water bodies had frozen four days ahead of the peak of the harshest 40-day period of winter, locally known as the ‘Chilla Kalan’. Dal Lake was completely frozen in 1965 when a jeep crossed the frozen surface from one end to the other. It was again frozen in 1986 when people played ice hockey and cricket besides taking photographs on the frozen surface.
People in some areas, particularly in the outskirts and Lake area, complained of water shortage as the taps had frozen. Some were seen trying to de-freeze frozen taps by burning wood in the morning. People near the banks of the lake were seen throwing stones and paper on the frozen parts of the lake.
People at other places in Kashmir Valley also shivered due to the drop in temperature. The minimum temperature in Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir settled at minus 8.9 degrees Celsius from the previous night's minus 7.4 degrees Celsius, the official said. In the ski resort of north Kashmir’s Gulmarg, the minimum night temperature settled at minus 11.0 degrees Celsius, the same as the previous night.
In Leh town of the frontier Ladakh region, the mercury settled at minus 14.9 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s minus 14.6 degrees. The neighbouring Kargil town was the coldest place in the region with a low of minus 16.4 degrees Celsius.
The Met has forecast dry weather during the next three days with the likelihood of a further fall in night temperatures due to a partially clear sky.