Cold wave conditions persisted in the Kashmir division, including the Ladakh region, as the minimum temperature remained several degrees below the freezing point. Kargil continued to be the coldest recorded place in the state as the mercury there settled at minus 20.2 degrees Celsius last night, an official of the Meteorological Department here said. The nearby Leh town also shivered with the mercury there settling at minus 14.6 degrees Celsius – over a degree down from minus 13.5 degrees Celsius last night. He said Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – recorded a minimum temperature of minus 4.1 degrees Celsius last night – marginally up from minus 4.3 degrees Celsius the previous night. The night temperature in Qazigund, in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius, while the neighbouring Kokernag town registered a low of minus 1.7 degrees Celsius last night, the official said. He said Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius – slightly down from the previous night’s minus 4.0 degrees Celsius. The official said the 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 6.1 degrees Celsius compared to the low of minus 6.3 degrees Celsius the previous night.
Gulmarg – the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir -recorded the minimum temperature of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius – an increase from yesterday’s minus 5.5 degrees Celsius, the official said. 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 the temperature drops considerably. However, a month into the period, the weather has largely remained dry, especially in the plains. 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).
The MET Office has forecast light rain or snowfall at isolated places in the state on Tuesday. “There is possibility of rain or snow or thundershowers at isolated places on January 23. The weather in Kashmir will remain dry till then,” the MeT official said.