Srinagar: Gulmarg and Pahalgam tourist resorts were the only places in Kashmir to record sub-zero minimum temperature as the mercury improved in most parts of the valley, even as the weatherman has forecast widespread moderate rain/snow in the UT over two days from Saturday, officials said.
The mercury last night settled several degrees above the normal for this time of the season at most places, the officials said.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of 2.8 degrees Celsius up from 2.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said on Friday.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 7.5 degrees Celsius down from minus 5.0 degrees Celsius the previous night.
Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius down from the previous night’s minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, they said.
The officials said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded the minimum of 1.6 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of 0.4 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of 1.2 degrees Celsius.
The MeT Office has said an active Western Disturbance is most likely to cause widespread moderate rain/snow in J-K over two days from Saturday.
Thereafter, the weather is likely to stay mainly dry till the end of the month and there is no forecast of any major rain/snow till the end of January, it said.
Kashmir valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ which began on December 21 last year.
‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ is a period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the 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’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).