There was slight respite from the intense cold conditions at most places in Kashmir Valley even as Leh and Kargil in Ladakh region of the state experienced the coldest night of the season, the MET office said on Saturday. The night temperature rose slightly across the valley, except in Kokernag, providing some relief to residents. However, the mercury went down in Ladakh region of the state, an official of the MET Office here said. Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – which had experienced the coldest December night in nearly three decades on the previous night at minus 7.7 degrees Celsius, saw the mercury rise half-a-degree to settle at a low of minus 7.2 degrees Celsius last night. However, the official said the night temperature in the city was still over five degrees below normal for this time of the season. He said Qazigund – the gateway town to the valley – in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.2 degrees Celsius – up from minus 6.7 degrees Celsius the previous night. Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6 degrees Celsius last night, the official said.
The night temperature in Pahalgam, which serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 8.3 degrees Celsius last night – up from minus 9.5 degrees Celsius on the previous night. The official said the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 7 degrees Celsius – an increase of over two degrees from minus 9.3 degrees Celsius the previous night. Kokernag town in south Kashmir was the only place in the valley where the night temperature dropped last night. The town registered a low of minus 5.8 degrees Celsius as against minus 5.5 degrees Celsius on the previous night. The night temperature in Leh town in Ladakh region of the state dropped over two degrees from the previous night’s minus 15.1 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 17.5 degrees Celsius last night, the official said. He said last night was the coldest night of the season so far there and Leh was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir.
The nearby Kargil recorded a low of minus 16.7 degrees Celsius, the official said, adding last night was the coldest night of the season so far there. Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ – the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably. ‘Chillai-Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold). However, the winter this season has been dry so far, although there was a spell of early snowfall in the valley in first and second week of November. The intense cold wave has resulted in freezing of some water bodies, including the fringes of the famous Dal Lake here, and residential water supply pipes in most areas of the city and other towns of the valley. The prolonged dry spell has resulted in an increase in common ailments like cough, cold and other respiratory problems, especially among children and elderly. The weatherman has predicted light rain or snowfall at isolated places in the valley and Ladakh region on Sunday and at scattered places across the state next week.