Minimum temperature below freezing point in Kashmir

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SRINAGAR — The intense cold wave conditions continued in Kashmir as the minimum temperature settled several degrees below freezing point, officials said on Saturday. The night temperature was several degrees below normal for this season.

The mercury in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, settled at minus 4.5 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night’s minus 3.4 degrees Celsius, they said.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 9.5 degrees Celsius, up a degree from the previous night.

Pahalgam in south Kashmir Anantnag district, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 11.4 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night’s minus 10.3 degrees Celsius, they said. The resort was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir.

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The officials said Qazigund, the gateway town to the Valley, recorded the minimum of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 7.2 degrees Celsius. The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at minus 5.0 degrees Celsius.

The MeT Office said the weather would likely stay mainly dry over the next few days, and the minimum temperature may drop further.

Kashmir Valley is currently under the 40-day harshest winter period known as ‘Chilla-i-Kalan,’ which began on December 21.

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‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ is a period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably, leading to 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’ (minor cold) and 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).

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