Gulmarg and other upper reaches of Kashmir received fresh light snowfall during the night, even as the minimum temperature in most parts of the valley settled above the freezing point, officials said on Saturday.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, received about five inches of fresh snowfall, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, recorded about two inches, the officials said.
Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, also recorded about two inches, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag received an inch of fresh snowfall, they said.
There are reports of snowfall in other areas in the upper reaches of the valley as well, they said.
Meanwhile, the minimum temperature at most places in the valley last night settled above the freezing point. The mercury was several degrees above the normal for this time of the season at most places, the officials said.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of 2.3 degrees Celsius – down from 2.8 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius – a degree up from the previous night.
Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius – same as the previous night, they said.
The officials said Qazigund recorded the minimum of 0.2 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 1.9 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of 1.4 degrees Celsius.
The MET Office has forecast widespread light to moderate rain/snow in J-K till Sunday.
There are chances of rain/snow at isolated places over the next two days too, it said.
Afterwards, the weather is likely to stay mainly dry till the end of the month and there is no forecast of any major rain/snow till the end of January, it said.
Kashmir valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ which began on December 21 last year.
‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ is a period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and highest during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, which witness heavy to very heavy snowfall.
The ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ will end on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).