Cold Wave to Intensify in Next 48 Hrs, Leh -13

SRINAGAR: With forecast of clear skies, weather office Friday warned of further fall in temperatures in next 48 hours even as minimum temperature dropped to minus 3.5 degrees Celsius in Srinagar making it the coldest night of the season here so far. Leh town in Ladakh region recorded its lowest at minus 13 degrees Celsius Friday.

"The night temperature was minus 5.4 in Gulmarg and minus 7.2 in Pahalgam, while Jammu city recorded a minimum of 6 degrees," officials of Met office added.

The officials also said due to expected clear skies and dry weather, night temperatures would drop further across Jammu and Kashmir during the next 48 hours.

"The present cold conditions are likely to intensify during the next 48 hours because of dry and clear weather," the officials said.

Temperatures falling several notches below the freezing point across the valley a week ahead of the traditional 40-day severe winter period called the 'Chilla Kalan', which begins Dec 21, indicates tougher days ahead for the Kashmiris.

Parts of the Dal Lake in Srinagar city and other water bodies have already started to freeze. Residents here are covering exposed portions of drinking water supply pipes with glass wool to prevent freezing.

"Despite these precautions, I had to light a small fire at the base of the supply pipe to de-freeze it Friday morning," said Javaid Ahmad, 43, who lives in Lal Bazaar area of Srinagar.

Early Friday vehicles were seen plying with headlights on as there was very poor visibility. However, the visibility improved as the day progressed.

Pahalgam also recorded coldest night of the season as the minimum dropped to minus 7.2 degree, freezing water bodies and water taps. Earlier lowest was minus 5.2 degree, witnessed yesterday.

Qazigund and tourist resort of Kokernag also recorded coldest night of the season after the minimum dropped to minus 4.3 degree and minus 3.8 degree respectively. Agencies

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