Even as the 40-day harshest winter period of ‘Chilai Kalan’ concluded on Saturday, Kashmir continues to reel under a severe cold wave with Srinagar recording the coldest night after 30 years, as the temperature plummeted to minus 8.8 degrees Celsius.
A Met department official said that minus 8.8 degrees Celsius is the lowest minimum temperature recorded after exactly 30 years in Srinagar. In 1991, Srinagar witnessed a low of minus 11.8 degrees Celsius while the lowest ever recorded temperature in Kashmir is minus 14.4 degrees Celsius witnessed on 31 January 1893.
In other places of the valley too, the mercury was recorded at very low levels. In south Kashmir’s Pahalgam hill resort, a minimum of minus 12 degrees Celsius was recorded, while north Kashmir’s ski-resort Gulmarg witnessed a low of minus 8 degrees, he said.
Waterbodies, including Dal Lake, have been freezing due to the cold wave. The drinking water taps and supply pipes have also frozen at many places in recent days, leading to water shortage.
The Meteorological Department has predicted an increase in night temperatures from Monday and a two-day wet spell from Tuesday. “From today onwards there is going to be perceptible improvement in the night temperatures in both J&K and Ladakh,” the official said.
The ‘Chilai Kalan’ which begins on December 21 and ends on January 30 is known for having maximum chances of snowfall and low temperatures. This year, the period was one of the most severe witnessed in the last several decades, both in terms of record snowfall as well as the freezing temperatures.
The ‘Chilai Kalan’ witnessed three major spells of snowfall this season but the one recorded during January 3 and 6 was the heaviest leaving Kashmir cut-off from the rest of the country for five days affecting both surface and air traffic.
However, heavy snowfall in Gulmarg has attracted tourists including skiers in large numbers.