Cold wave continues as Valley braces for wet spell

Cold wave continues as Valley braces for wet spell

Tourists walk through a snow-covered area in Gulmarg, some 55 km north of Srinagar. AFP file photo.

Cold wave conditions continued unabated in Kashmir on Tuesday even as weather office has forecast fresh snowfall and rains in the Valley from Wednesday.

A Met department official said that a fresh western disturbance (WD), which originated in the Arabian sea is expected to remain active for the next three days. "Under the influence of the WD, moderate to heavy rain and snowfall is expected in the region," he said.

As intense cold wave continued, mercury in Srinagar city settled at a low of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius, the official said. Ski-resort Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 12.2 degrees Celsius while south Kashmir hill resort Pahalgam witnessed a low of minus 13.7 degrees and was the coldest recorded place in the Valley.

Drass in cold desert region Ladakh, which is believed to be second coldest inhabited place in the World, recorded a bone-chilling minus 30.4 degrees Celsius. Even the maximum temperature in Drass did not rise above the freezing point as it settled at minus 13.7 degrees Celsius, he said.

The official said Kargil town in Ladakh region witnessed a minimum of minus 22.5 degrees while in neighbouring Leh town mercury settled at minus 17.4 degrees Celsius.

Kashmir received heavy snowfall and rains in the last one-month throwing life out of gear on several occasions. The 40-day long period of harsh winter locally known as 'Chillai Kalan' that started on December 21, ends on January 30.

Meanwhile, one-way traffic was allowed from Srinagar to Jammu on the national highway on Tuesday. The highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, remained closed for traffic from January 21 to 27 due to heavy snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area and multiple landslides triggered by the incessant rains. It was opened for one-way traffic on Monday.