Srinagar: ‘Chillai-Kalan’ – the harshest 40-day period of winter in Kashmir – marked its beginning today with mercury dipping to the season’s record low at several places including Srinagar which experienced a six-year-low night temperature in the month of December.
Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region have been it by severe cold as the night temperature across the division, except Pahalgam and Gulmarg, dropped to the season’s lowest, an official of the MET Department here said.
He said the mercury in Srinagar plunged further the freezing point to settle at minus 6.5 degrees Celsius – a degree below the previous night’s minimum of minus 5.5 degrees Celsius.
The official said this was the coldest night of the season so far in the summer capital of the state and the mercury was at the six-year low for this month of the year.
The city had recorded minus 6.6 degrees Celsius on December 27, 2010. The all-time low recorded in December in Srinagar is minus 12.8 degrees Celsius on December 13, 1934.
The cold wave resulted in freezing of some water bodies, including the fringes of the famous Dal Lake here, and residential water supply pipes.
Leh, in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, also recorded the coldest night of the season as the mercury there settled at a low of minus 14.9 degrees Celsius- down from the previous night’s minus 14 degrees Celsius.
He said Leh was the coldest recorded place in the state.
The mercury in the nearby Kargil town settled at a low of minus 11.4 degrees Celsius – which is the season’s lowest so far there, the official said.
Qazigund – the gateway town to Kashmir Valley – was another place which experienced the coldest night of the season, he said.
He said the mercury in the town settled at a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius compared to minus 4.4 degrees Celsius yesterday.
The official said the north Kashmir town of Kupwara recorded a low minus 5.5 degrees Celsius, against minus 4.8 degrees Celsius the previous night.
He said Kupwara also registered the season’s lowest night temperature.
Kokernag town of south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, the official said, adding it was also the lowest recorded temperature of the season there.
The official said Pahalgam health resort in south Kashmir – which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra – recorded a low minus 6.9 degrees Celsius -down from minus 6.2 degrees Celsius 24 hours earlier.
He said the resort was the coldest place in the Valley.
The mercury at the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius, compared to yesterday’s low of minus 3 degrees Celsius.
The Meteorological Department has forecast mainly dry weather in the state over the week ahead, which could result in further drop in the night temperature.
‘Chillai-Kalan’ – considered the harshest period of winter, when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably, began today on a dry note.
It ends on January 31 next year, but the cold wave continues even after that.
The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
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