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Cold Wave-Like Conditions In Kashmir; Thin Sheet Of Ice Over Dal Lake

Kashmir is currently under the grip of "Chilla-i-Kalan", a 40-day harsh winter period, when a cold wave sweeps the region and temperatures drop considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies as well as water in pipes.

Cold winter in Srinagar
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A thin layer of ice formed on the surface of the Dal Lake here and other water bodies in Kashmir as cold wave-like conditions gripped the region, officials said on Saturday. The minimum temperature in several parts of the valley dropped below the minus 4 degrees Celsius-mark on Friday night.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of "Chilla-i-Kalan", a 40-day harsh winter period, when a cold wave sweeps the region and temperatures drop considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies as well as water in pipes. The chances of snowfall are the highest during this period and most areas, particularly the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.

Srinagar city recorded a minimum temperature of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius on Friday night, down from minus 3 degrees Celsius recorded on the previous night, the officials said. They said Qazigund recorded a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, while in the ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir it was 4.5 degrees Celsius on Friday night, a notch down from the minimum temperature recorded the previous night. 

Pahalgam in south Kashmir's Anantnag district, which serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a minimum temperature of minus 6.3 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night's minus 4.5 degrees Celsius, they said. The minimum temperature in Kokernag town settled at minus 2.9 degrees Celsius and in Kupwara at minus 5.4 degrees Celsius.

People who live in houseboats at the Dal Lake had a tough time breaking the layer of ice over the water body to reach its banks. Water in pipes also freezed in several parts of the Kashmir valley.  Kashmir has been going through a prolonged dry spell and a 79 per cent deficit in rainfall was recorded for December.

There has been no snowfall in most plain areas of Kashmir, while the upper reaches of the valley have received lesser than usual amount of snow. The meteorological department has forecast mainly dry weather till January 12. 'Chilla-i-Kalan' will end on January 31. However, the cold conditions will continue after that with a 20-day 'Chilla-i-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day 'Chilla-i-Bachha' (baby cold).

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