Gulmarg tourist resort in north Kashmir reeled under extreme cold as the minimum temperature fell below the freezing point at most places in the valley, officials said on Sunday.
The resort recorded a low of minus 10 degrees Celsius, a drop of more than five degrees compared to the previous night’s minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, MET officials said.
They said Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, dropping more than degree.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, was the only place to record minimum temperature above freezing point as the minimum settled at 0.3 degrees Celsius on Saturday night, the officials said
They said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded a minimum of minus 0.4 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 2.3 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius.
The MET Office said significant improvement is likely from Sunday, after which the weather is likely to stay mainly dry over the next few days.
Kashmir valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ which began on December 21.
‘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 maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive 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).