Cold conditions prevailed in Kashmir as the mercury continued to settle below the freezing point owing to the prevailing dry weather. Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, registered a low of minus 5 degrees Celsius compared to the previous night’s minus 5.3 degrees Celsius, a spokesman of the Meteorological department here said. He said the mercury in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley also went up from minus 5.4 degrees Celsius the previous night to settle at a low of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius. Kupwara town in north Kashmir recorded the minimum of minus 4.9 degrees Celsius, while the mercury in Kokernag, in south, settled at a low of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said. The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir, the star attraction for tourists visiting the Valley during winter, recorded an increase of a degree in the minimum temperature which settled at minus 4.5 degrees Celsius. The hill resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir, which serves as the base camp for annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 6.7 degrees Celsius against yesterday’s minus 6.9 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said. The night temperature in Kargil, in Ladakh region, went up nearly two notches from the previous night’s minimum of minus 16.4 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 14.6 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said. He said the mercury in the nearby Leh town settled at a low of minus 16.2 degrees Celsius, same as that of the previous night. Kashmir is in the midst of the 40-day-long harshest phase of winter, which began on December 21 and will continue till the end of this month. Known as Chillai-Kalan in local parlance, the chances of snowfall are usually most frequent and maximum during this period. 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, more than a month into Chillai-Kalan, Kashmir continues to experience dry weather. Except for brief spells of light snow in plains on two occasions and moderate snowfall in the higher reaches on a few occasions, the harshest winter period has thus far remained largely dry. The Meteorological Department has predicted mainly dry weather to continue with possibility of light rainfall or snow in the upper reaches at the end of this month.
2015 Kashmir Despatch