Srinagar Shivers At -6.5 Deg C, Jammu Records Season’s Coldest Night

Tourists take selfies in the snow covered Tangmarg valley of north Kashmir on Monday. Photo: Abid Bhat / KO

SRINAGAR – The cold wave further tightened its grip across Jammu and Kashmir on Monday as the summer capital Srinagar shivering at minus 6.5 degrees Celsius, while Jammu witnessed season’s coldest night.

Srinagar recorded the low of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius Sunday night down from minus 6.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, a MeT office official said, adding it was the coldest night of the season so far in the city, leading to freezing of the fringes of the Dal Lake and other water bodies as well as water supply lines at several places.

The night temperature in Srinagar, which has been witnessing clear skies and some sunshine during the day, is over four degrees below the normal for this part of the season, the official said.

The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded the low of minus 7.8 degrees Celsius last night down from the previous night’s minus 6.6 degrees Celsius, he said.

The night temperature at Pahalgam resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius as against minus 10.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday, the official said.

Pahalgam, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, was the coldest recorded place in the valley, he added.

The official said Qazigund the gateway town to the Valley – in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 9.3 degrees Celsius slightly up from minus 9.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

Kokernag town, also in south, recorded a low of minus 7.3 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in north, registered the minimum of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, the official said.

Jammu recorded the season’s coldest night in over a decade as the mercury plummeted to 2.4 degrees Celsius, the meteorological department said.

It said the city had recorded the coldest night on December 28, 1998, when the mercury had went down to 0.9 degree Celsius followed by 2.3 degrees Celsius on December 31, 2007. Jammu had also recorded a low of 2.4 degrees Celsius on December 27 in 2014.

The minimum temperature in Jammu marked a dip of 3.3 degrees compared to the previous night to settle at 2.4 degrees Celsius — five notches below normal during this part of the season, a MeT office official said.

“There is possibility of light rains or snowfall across Kashmir for a few days from December 31 and fresh spell of rain in the plains and snowfall in higher reaches in the Jammu region,” the official said.

He said while there is forecast of scattered rains or snowfall on December 31 and January 1, there is possibility of fairly-widespread rainfall or snow on January 2 which may continue till January 3 in the valley.

There is possibility of another wet spell of higher intensity during January 5 and 6, he added.

“The spells of wet weather are likely to bring respite to the valley which has been grappling with the cold wave conditions,” he added.

In the Jammu region, the official said the snow-bound Banihal town along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was the coldest recorded place with a low of minus 1.6 degree Celsius followed by Bhaderwah in Doda district at minus 0.2 degree Celsius.

Katra, which serves as the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district, marked an improvement of one degree in the night temperature which settled at 4.4 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s 3.3 degrees Celsius, he said.

Dense fog forced cancellation of all morning flights from the Jammu Airport.

An official of the Airport Authority of India said all the four morning flights scheduled to operate from the Jammu airport were cancelled due to poor visibility as dense fog engulfed the city.

“So far four flights to and fro the Jammu airport were cancelled, while the afternoon flights are likely to get delayed,” he said.

He said Leh town, in the Ladakh Union territory, recorded a low of minus 20.1 degrees Celsius down from the previous night’s minus 19.0 degrees Celsius.

The nearby Drass town froze at a low of minus 28.8 degrees Celsius.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ – the 40-day harshest period of winter when there are most chances of frequent and maximum snowfall and the temperature drops considerably.

‘Chillai-Kalan’ began on December 21 and ends on January 31, 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 light to moderate rains and snowfall in the Union Territory over the first week of the new year which is likely to bring respite from the cold wave conditions.

One-way traffic from Jammu to Srinagar; Leh, Mughal roads still closed

Only one-way traffic from Jammu to Srinagar was on Monday allowed on the Banihal highway, the all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.

No vehicle was allowed from opposition direction on the highway, a traffic police official said.

Meanwhile, the historic 86-km-long Mughal and Anantnag-Kishtwar roads, besides the 434-km-long national highway, the only road linking Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir, also remained closed for the past 20 days on Monday due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions.

He said Kashmir bound Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) were allowed to move in the morning before Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs), including those carrying essentials, will ply in the afternoon.

The 434-km-long national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir, also remained closed for the past 20 days due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions.

People at Kargil alleged that they are facing acute shortage of essentials, particularly fresh vegetables.

The historic Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region remained closed for the past 20 days on Monday due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions.

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