Srinagar- Minimum temperatures across Kashmir stayed several degrees below the freezing point as an intense cold wave sweeps the region, a meteorological department official said on Tuesday.
Several water bodies, including the surface of the famous Dal Lake here, have frozen, while a thick layer of ice has formed on several roads in Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley, affecting vehicular movement.
Qazigund, the gateway town to the Kashmir Valley, recorded a minimum of 8.6 degrees Celsius and was the coldest place in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the official.
Srinagar city recorded a low of minus seven degrees Celsius, down from minus 6.4 degrees Celsius the previous night, he said.
The minimum temperature in the city last night was nearly five degrees below the normal for this time of the year, the official said.
The minimum temperature in north Kashmir's Baramulla district settled at minus 6.2 degrees Celsius last night, down from minus six degrees Celsius the night earlier, he said.
Pahalgam, a tourist resort in south Kashmir that also serves as a base camp for the Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of minus 8.4 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night's minus 6.8 degrees Celsius, the official said.
Kupwara recorded a low of minus 5.7 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag recorded minus 7.4 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan', a 40-day harsh winter period when cold wave sweeps the region and temperatures drop considerably, leading to freezing of water bodies and water in pipelines. The chances of snowfall is highest during this period, especially in higher reaches of the area.
'Chillai-Kalan' will end on January 31 and then Kashmir will witness 20 days of 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and 10 days of 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).
No Fresh Traffic On Highway Today
Srinagar highway, the only road link connecting Kashmir Valley with the outside world, shall be closed for fresh traffic on Wednesday, officials said.
“Tomorrow (January 20), subject to fair weather and better road conditions, only stranded vehicles in Udhampur jurisdiction shall be allowed towards Srinagar including Ramban-Banihal (local traffic),” a traffic department official said, adding, “no vehicle shall be allowed in the opposite direction.”
The highway reopened on January 16 after remaining closed for six days.
The thoroughfare was closed at 6:20 p.m. on January 10 after the retaining wall of a key bridge collapsed suddenly near Kela Morh in Ramban.
The decision to reopen the highway followed Border Roads Organization launching a Bailey bridge adjacent to the damage within “60 hours”.
The authorities have underlined that the weight bearing capacity of Bailey bridge is less than 40 metric ton. The permanent restoration of the highway will take time and is expected by 1st week of March, the officials said.
The authorities also announced that there shall be no traffic movement on the highway from either side in view of maintenance and repairs on Friday.
Meanwhile, Mughal road, connecting Shopian and Poonch districts, also remained closed. Srinagar-Leh highway was officially closed on the orders of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on December 30.
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