Residents in the Valley brace up for Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day period of the harshest winter in the region as the mercury dipped by several degrees at most of the places in this part of Jammu and Kashmir.
Chillai-Kalan begins from December 21, and during this period the weather in Kashmir valley continues to remain dry and cold with minimum temperatures hovering below the freezing point.
As cold wave tightened its grip in Kashmir, Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded the minimum temperature of minus 3.2 degree Celsius, a decrease of over two degrees from the previous nights of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, an official of the MET Department said.
The mercury in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir valley, also went down by two notches from the previous nights low of minus 3.3 degrees Celsius, to settle at a low of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said the tourist resort of Pahalgam which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir registered a low of minus 7.7 degrees Celsius, a decrease of five degrees from the previous nights minus 2.7 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature in Kupwara in north Kashmir also went down by over two degrees to settle at a low of minus 3.9 degrees Celsius compared to the previous nights minus 1.5 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Kokernag town in south Kashmir registered the minimum temperature of minus 2.9 degrees Celsius as against minus 1.9 degrees Celsius the previous night.
The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 10.4 degrees Celsius. The resort had registered a low of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, the official said.
Leh, in the frontier region of Ladakh, witnessed a slight decrease in the night temperature as the mercury there settled at minus 12.9 degrees Celsius compared to the previous nights of minus 12.6 degrees Celsius.
Leh was the coldest recorded place in the state, the official said.
However, the nearby Kargil town was the only recorded place in the state where the night temperature increased.
Kargil recorded a low of minus 7.4 degrees Celsius, an increase of nearly seven degrees from the previous nights minus 14.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
The MET Department has said there are chances of isolated rains over two days from tomorrow. It said the weather is likely to remain mainly dry for a few days after Sunday.
The residents in the Valley are bracing up for a 40-day Chillai-Kalan which is considered the harshest period of the winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum.
The people usually stock up essentials including dried vegetables, coal and kerosene. The demand for Kangri – an earthen fire pot woven by a wicker case – has gone up while woolens and jackets are already out.
Chillai-Kalan, which begins with winter solstice on December 21, ends on January 31 next year. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).