As cold wave further tightened its grip over Kashmir on Sunday, Srinagar witnessed the coldest night of the season as the mercury plummeted to bone-chilling minus 6.2 degrees Celsius.
A MeT Department official said it was the coldest night of the season. Last year on December 27, Srinagar had witnessed the coldest December night in 28-years as mercury had plummeted to bone minus 7.6 degree Celsius. The all-time low recorded in the month of December in Srinagar was minus 12.8 degrees Celsius on December 13, 1934.
Portions of the Dal Lake in Srinagar city and other water bodies had frozen in 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 another end. 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 tapes had frozen. People were seen trying to defreeze frozen taps by burning wood in the morning. People near banks were seen throwing stones and paper on the frozen parts of the lake.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably. ‘Chillai Kalan’ began on December 21 and ends on January 30, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold).
The Met Office has forecast dry weather during the next 24 hours till Monday morning with the likelihood of a further fall in night temperatures due to a clear sky.