Respite from cold wave, night temperature rises

Srinagar, Jan 29: Residents of Srinagar got much needed reprieve from cold wave conditions as the night temperature rose by three degrees but the minimum temperature stayed below the freezing point across the valley and Ladakh region. Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of minus 1.6 degrees Celsius last night, up from minus 4.8 degrees Celsius the previous night, an official of the MeT department said here. Kargil town, in Ladakh region, saw the mercury rise by a degree, to settle at minus 15.0 degrees Celsius, the official said. He said Kargil continued to be the coldest recorded place in the state. The nearby Leh town was the second coldest as the mercury there settled at a low of minus 14.0 degrees Celsius down two degrees from previous night. The night temperature in Qazigund town in south Kashmir was minus 3.8 degrees Celsius while nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 2.5 degrees Celsius last night, the official said. He said Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius, up nearly one degree from the previous night’s minus 4.2 degrees Celsius. The official said the night temperature in Pahalgam, the famous health resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra, settled at a low of minus 2.3 degrees Celsius compared to the low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius the previous night. Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius. It was the coldest recorded place in the valley last night. Kashmir has been going through extremely dry and cold weather conditions this winter, leading to health related problems among the children and elderly. Although the MeT department has predicted fairly widespread rain or snowfall in the valley today, the sun shone brightly since morning, putting a dampener on the hopes of people for an end to the dry weather conditions. Kashmir is currently under the grip of Chillai-Kalan, a 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably. It ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in the valley. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long Chillai- Khurd (small cold) and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).