The famous skiing resort of Gulmarg and some other places in the higher reaches of Kashmir received fresh snowfall, while light rains lashed many areas in the plains on Wednesday, even as the minimum temperature in most parts of the valley settled above the freezing point, officials said. Gulmarg received light fresh snowfall of about 1.2 cm.
They said that there were reports of snowfall in some other areas in the higher reaches of the valley. "Most areas in the plains of the valley were lashed by rains which continued at many places when the last reports came in," said the officials.
Officials added that the overcast conditions led to an increase in the minimum temperature at most places of Kashmir. "The minimum temperature in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, settled at a low of 2.7 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night's 1.1 degrees Celsius," the officials noted.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 6 degrees Celsius, same as 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 1.9 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night's minus 0.7 degrees Celsius, they said. The twin tourist resorts were the only place in the valley which experienced the sub-zero night temperature last night.
The officials said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded the minimum of 1.3 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of 1.2 degrees Celsius.
The MET Office has said that the weather will remain partly to generally cloudy in both regions of J-K with the possibility of light rain/snow at scattered places over the next 24 hours. A spell of light rain or snow is likely during January 22-23, but thereafter, the weather is likely to stay mainly dry till the end of the month and there is no forecast of any major rain or snow till the end of January, it stated.
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).
With PTI Inputs