Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar witnessed the lowest temperature of minus 8.8 degree Celsius on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, a record since the January of 1991. Kashmir continues to be under the grip of a severe cold wave, the weather office said on Sunday even as the harshest 40-day winter period – Chillai Kalan – ended.
“Srinagar freezes at minus 8.8 degree centigrade today, lowest since 1991 when the mercury had dropped to as low as minus 11.8 degrees,” said meteorologist from Srinagar’s IMD office, Mohammad Hussain Mir.
“We are under a severe cold wave in Kashmir valley today,” he said.
The intense chill has made the life of residents more difficult in the Valley this winter. Apart from the routine power shortages, the low temperatures have been freezing both water and road surfaces making the travel difficult. Dal and Nigeen lakes have been freezing on and off.
The portable water has also become scarce.
“For the past many days, the water pipes and taps have been freezing during the night. For half of the day we get busy with pouring hot water from frozen pipes. This year the Chillai Kalan has shown its true colors,” said Rafiq Bano, a house maker of Old City Srinagar.
Kashmir has witnessed a number of snow spells in December and January.
The weather office has again predicted moderate wet spells from Sunday.
Director MeT, Srinagar, Sonam Lotus said that there will be cloudy weather between February 1-4 with the possibility of light snowfall at isolated places of J&K and Ladakh during January 31 and February 1.
“Light to moderate snow and rain is most likely at scattered places of J&K and Ladakh, mainly during 2-3rd February,” he said.
The fresh precipitation is expected to improve the minimum temperatures.
“From tomorrow, morning and night, the temperatures will definitely improve by a few notches,” said meteorologist Mohammad Hussain Mir.
The weather office said that the coldest place in the valley on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday was Kokernag in south Kashmir, where the mercury plunged to minus 13.1 degree Celsius, around 10 notches below normal.
The tourist resort of Pahalgam in the south recorded minus 12 degree Celsius while the ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded minus 8 degree C.
In the Union territory of Ladakh, Leh was cold at minus 14.1 degree C while Kargil was even colder at minus 17.4 degree C. The coldest place of the country Drass recorded bone chilling minus 26.2 degree C