There was some respite in cold conditions in Kashmir as the mercury went up by several degrees at most places after four days of virtual free fall, with the weather department here predicting light snowfall in the plains over two days from Monday.
“We are expecting a fresh spell of precipitation as a western disturbance is approaching Jammu and Kashmir.
“There is possibility of light snowfall in the plains of the Valley on January 4 and 5,” the Director of Meteorological Department here, Sonam Lotus, told.
Lotus said while the higher reaches would receive moderate snowfall, there are fair chances of rains or light snowfall in the plains of the Valley including Srinagar.
“While we can say that precipitation will be there from January 4, the possibility of snowfall is more on the intervening night of January 4 and 5,” the Director said.
Meanwhile, the minimum temperatures at most places in the Valley went up providing some relief to the residents from the cold wave conditions.
The minimum temperature increased by over three degrees in Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir as the mercury settled at minus 0.7 degree Celsius against yesterday’s minus 4.0 degrees Celsius, an official of the MET department said here.
He said the mercury went up by nearly a degree in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir along Srinagar-Jammu national highway, as the town recorded a minimum of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius against minus 3.2 degrees Celsius the previous night.
Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir, which serves as a base camp during the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius an increase of over four degrees from yesterday’s minus 6.7 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir, the star attraction for the tourists visiting the valley during winter, remained the coldest recorded place in the valley with a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature in the resort was, however, two notches above that of the previous night’s low of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius.
Kupwara town in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature in southern Kokernag resort settled at minus 2.6 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said the mercury in Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, went up by three degrees as it recorded the low of minus 13.3 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s minus 16.3 degrees Celsius which was the lowest of the season so far.
The nearby town of Kargil registered minus 15.0 degrees Celsius as compared to the yesterday’s low of minus 14.6 degrees Celsius, the official said.
While Kashmir Valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harsh winter period known as ‘Chillai-Kalan’ which began on December 21 and during which the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum, the New Year ushered in on a dry note disappointing many locals and tourists who had assembled at Gulmarg in large numbers on the New Year’s eve.
There are no reports of snowfall or rain from any part of the state, the official said.
Though the Chillai-Kalan ends on January 31, the cold wave usually continues even after that. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai- Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).