The intense cold wave continued in Kashmir today with mercury staying several degrees below the freezing point, though the dry spell in the region may end in the next couple of days. The Met department has forecast rains or snowfall in isolated places tomorrow in Kashmir and fairly widespread downpour on Monday. If the forecast comes good, it will end the dry spell this winter which has now entered the seventh week — an unusual occurrence in Kashmir during January when chances of snowfall are maximum. Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 8.3 degrees Celsius. It was the coldest recorded place in the valley last night. Kargil town, in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, saw the mercury rise by nearly three degrees last night. It settled at minus 15 degrees Celsius, an official of the Meteorological Department here said. He said Kargil continued to be the coldest recorded place in the state.
The nearby Leh town was the second coldest as the mercury there settled at a low of minus 11.8 degrees Celsius, down by nearly six degrees from minus 6.1 degrees Celsius previous night. He said Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a minimum temperature of minus 5. 2 degrees Celsius last night down from minus 4.9 degrees Celsius the previous night. The night temperature in Qazigund town in south Kashmir was minus 4.8 degrees Celsius while nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 2.3 degrees Celsius last night, the official said. He said Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius slightly down from the previous night s minus 5.1 degrees Celsius.
The official said that night temperature in Pahalgam -the famous health resort which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra – settled at a low of minus 5.8 degrees Celsius compared to the low of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius the previous night. Kashmir has been experiencing extremely dry and cold weather conditions this winter, leading to health related problems among the children and elderly. Kashmir is currently under the grip of Chillai-Kalan a 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably. It ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in the valley. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).