Srinagar city recorded the coldest night of this winter as the minimum temperature dipped to minus 4.2 degrees Celsius even as the rest of the Kashmir Valley reeled under sub-zero temperatures. Leh, in the Ladakh region, was the coldest recorded place in the state last night as the minimum temperature settled at minus 8.0 degrees Celsius, followed by nearby Kargil town recording minus 7.1 degrees Celsius, a Meteorological Department said. Earlier, the lowest this winter was minus 3.8 degrees Celsius recorded on December 5. A dense fog engulfed the city and some other parts of the valley early in the morning as the visibility dropped to less than 300 metres. The cold wave conditions continued in the rest of Kashmir with all weather stations recording temperatures several degrees below the freezing point. The official said that the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius, compared to minus 2.2 degrees Celsius the previous night. Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.9 degrees Celsius, down from yesterday’s minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, he said. Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius last night, down nearly one degrees from the previous night’s minus 2.5 degrees Celsius, the official said. He said the mercury at the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 5.5 degrees Celsius, almost same as the previous night. The night temperature in Pahalgam, the famous health resort which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius, down more than two degrees from minus 4 degrees Celsius, the official said. The resort was the coldest recorded place in the valley.
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 temperatures drops considerably. It ends on January 31 next year, 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 mainly dry weather in the valley over the next couple of days.