No let-up in cold wave conditions in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 17: Intense cold wave conditions persisted in Kashmir on Sunday, even as the minimum temperatures increased marginally across the valley.

The meteorological department here said a western disturbance is likely to affect Jammu and Kashmir for a few days starting January 22, bringing snowfall and rain to the union territory.

The night temperature in Kashmir improved slightly but remained several notches below the freezing point, a MeT department official said.

Srinagar city — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir — recorded a low of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius, up from minus 8.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, he said.

The minimum temperature in the city last night was still over five notches below the normal for this time of the year, he added.

Pahalgam, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 8.7 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night’s minus 9.4 degrees Celsius.

The minimum temperature in Gulmarg settled at minus 4.2 degrees Celsius. The tourist resort had recorded a low of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius on Friday night.

Qazigund was the coldest place in Jammu and Kashmir with a minimum temperature of minus 9 degrees Celsius, the official said.

Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.2 degrees Celsius while Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 8.7 degrees Celsius.

The intense cold wave in Kashmir has resulted in the freezing of water supply lines in several areas. A thick layer of ice has covered several roads, making it difficult for motorists to drive.

Several water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here, have also frozen. Authorities have issued an advisory against walking on ice.

The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and river police are conducting patrolling around the frozen water bodies to ensure the safety of people.

The weather office said a fresh western disturbance is most likely to affect Jammu and Kashmir from January 22 evening to January 25 forenoon.

“This will bring fairly widespread to widespread light to moderate snowfall/rain to the plains of Jammu, with the main activity on January 24,” the IMD official said.

This system is much weaker than the previous one. So we expect the precipitation to be of lower intensity, he added.

Kashmir is currently in the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — the 40-day period of harshest winter when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably.

The chances of snowfall are the maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.

While ‘Chillai-Kalan’ began on December 21 and will end on January 31, the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold). (PTI)