SRINAGAR: Cold wave conditions intensified in Kashmir as the mercury fell across the Valley and settled several notches below the freezing point, even as there is a possibility of intermittent light to moderate snowfall at scattered places over two days from Thursday, officials said.
The intense cold led to water supply lines freezing in several areas. The interiors of Dal Lake and several other water bodies in the Kashmir Valley also froze, the officials said on Wednesday.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar settled at minus 5.6 degrees Celsius — down from minus 4.8 degrees Celsius on Tuesday night, the officials said.
Pahalgam, which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of minus 7.4 degrees Celsius, down from minus 6.7 degrees Celsius.
The tourist destination was the coldest recorded place in J-K and last night was the coldest night of the season so far there.
The minimum temperature in the skiing destination of Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district was minus 6 degrees Celsius.
In the frontier Kupwara district, the minimum temperature settled at minus 5.5 degrees Celsius, while Qazigund, the gateway town to the Valley, recorded 5 degrees Celsius, the officials said. Kokernag recorded a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius.
Although there was brief snowfall in Pahalgam and adjoining areas in south Kashmir, the Valley is going through a dry spell with no major precipitation forecast till the end of December.
However, the Meteorological (MeT) Department office has said there is a possibility (with a 70 per cent chance) of intermittent light to moderate snowfall at scattered places from Thursday (evening) to Friday.
There is no forecast of any major snowfall till January 5, it added.
Kashmir is currently in the grip of ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably, leading to the freezing of water bodies as well as water supply lines in several parts of the Valley.
The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period. Most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.
‘Chillai-Kalan’ begins on December 21 and ends on January 30. The cold wave continues even after that with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold) following it.