Srinagar- The minimum temperature across Kashmir dropped below the freezing point as the Meteorological Department predicted widespread rain or snow over the next three days, officials said on Wednesday.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.9 degrees Celsius nearly four degrees down from 1.8 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said.
The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 8.0 degrees Celsius up from minus 9.0 degrees Celsius the previous night.
Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir, which also serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 6.1 degrees Celsius almost same as the previous night, they said.
Officials said Qazigund recorded a minimum of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius down from the previous night's minus 0.3 degrees Celsius.
The nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 2.6 degrees Celsius, they said, adding the mercury in north Kashmir's Kupwara settled at a low of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius.
The MeT Office has said there is a possibility of rain or snow "at fairly widespread to widespread places" for two days from Wednesday and at scattered places on Friday.
Kashmir is currently under the influence of a 20-day-long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) which began on Monday after the Chilla-i-Kalan -- the 40-day harshest winter period -- ended.
Chilla-i-Kalan, which had begun on December 21 last year -- is a period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here, as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall.
However, the 'Chilla-i-Kalan' this year was not harsh like the last year and there was less snowfall during the period.
After the end of 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold), a 10-day-long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold) follows. However, both these periods are considered less harsh.
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