SRINAGAR: Kashmir continued to reel under cold conditions as the minimum temperature stayed below freezing point across the Valley for the first time this season, even as Srinagar witnessed the coldest night of this winter so far. Many areas in the Valley, including Srinagar, were covered by a thick layer of fog this morning, affecting visibility at some places especially near water bodies. However, the fog did not affect air traffic as flights were operating as per schedule, officials at Srinagar International Airport said. An official of the Meteorological Department in Srinagar said fog is a normal phenomenon for this time of the season and the region would experience foggy conditions till there is a spell of rain or snow. He said the temperature would continue to drop further and cold conditions in the Valley would intensify. The official said it was for the first time this winter that the night temperature across the Valley plunged below the freezing point. The minimum temperature in Kokernag, in south Kashmir, had stayed above freezing point till yesterday, however, the mercury there also dipped below zero degree Celsius today. Kokernag recorded a low of minus 0.3 degree Celsius, down from yesterday’s low of 0.7 degree Celsius, the official said. Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded the minimum temperature of minus 1.2 degrees Celsius, further down from yesterday’s minus 0.9 degree Celsius and this was the coldest night in the city, so far, this winter, he said. The tourist resort of Pahalgam, which serves as a base camp during the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius, while the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, registered a minimum of minus 2.8 degrees. The mercury in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley, settled at a low of 2 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night’s minus 1.2 degrees Celsius, the official said. He said Kupwara, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.9 degrees Celsius while Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, registered a low of minus 8.6 degrees Celsius, slightly up from minus 9 degrees Celsius the previous night. The minimum temperature at Kargil was not available, the official said. The MET office has predicted dry weather for the week ahead.
2015 Kashmir Despatch