Icicles formed on branches of trees on a cold winter day in Pulwama, J&K
Icicles formed on branches of trees on a cold winter day in a remote village of south Kashmir's Pulwama district | Photo: Reshi Irshad

SRINAGAR — With the onset of Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day period of intense winter, the mercury has dropped significantly across the Kashmir Valley. The local meteorological department predicts dry weather conditions prevailing until the conclusion of this month.

As reported by the news agency KNO, the night temperatures across the valley have fallen several degrees below freezing, with Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recording a low of minus 4.3 degrees Celsius.

Qazigund in south Kashmir registered a low of minus 4.0 degrees Celsius, while Pahalgam recorded a minimum temperature of 5.8 degrees Celsius.

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In Gulmarg, the mercury settled at minus 3.0 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara in north Kashmir experienced a low of minus 4.0 degrees Celsius. Similarly, in Kokernag, the temperature dropped to minus 3.0 degrees Celsius.

Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, Director of the Meteorological Department (MeT), informed that the weather is likely to remain predominantly cloudy with a chance of light snow over isolated higher altitudes on December 23.

However, he noted that dry weather is expected from December 24 to December 26, with a return of cloudy conditions and the likelihood of light snow over isolated higher areas on December 27.

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The MeT Director further forecasted a continuation of dry weather conditions from December 28 to 31, emphasizing that no significant weather disruptions are anticipated until the end of December.

Pertinently, Chillai-Kalan, a 40-day phase signifying the most severe winter period, has commenced. This phase, running from December 21 to January 31, marks the harshest winter in the Kashmir region. It is succeeded by a 20-day Chillai-Khurd (lesser cold) from January 31 to February 19 and a 10-day Chillai-Bachha (baby cold) spanning February 20 to March 2.

Chillai-Kalan, derived from Persian, translates to “Major Cold”.

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