National

Kashmir Reels Under Cold Wave Conditions

A thin layer of ice had formed over the surface of the Dal Lake as Srinagar city recorded a  minimum temperature of minus 4.8 degrees Celsius for the second consecutive night, officials said.

Cold day in Delhi
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There was no relief from the intense dry and cold wave conditions in Kashmir on Wednesday as the minimum temperatures stayed several degrees below the freezing point, officials said.

Anantnag town was the coldest place in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday night as the mercury plunged more than seven degrees below the freezing point, they said. A thin layer of ice had formed over the surface of the Dal Lake as Srinagar city recorded a  minimum temperature of minus 4.8 degrees Celsius for the second consecutive night, officials said.

The residents of the Lake, who live in the houseboats, had to a tough time breaking the ice layer while roving their boats towards the banks. Water supply pipes have frozen in many areas of Kashmir due to extreme cold-wave conditions. 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 6.6 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night's minus 6.2 degrees Celsius, they said.

Gulmarg skiing resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, Qazigund recorded a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, Kokernag town saw the mercury settle at minus 3.2 degrees Celsius and Kupwara recorded a minimum of minus 5.3 degrees Celsius, they said. Kashmir has been going through a prolonged dry spell and there is no precipitation forecast over the next six days, officials said, adding December was 79 per cent deficit in rainfall.

There has been no snowfall in most plain areas of Kashmir while the upper reaches of the valley have also received lesser than usual amount of snow by the end of December. The open skies have resulted in the minimum temperature sliding further in most parts including Srinagar, officials said. Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chilla-i-Kalan' -- the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the Dal Lake as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.

The chances of snowfall are the highest during this period and most areas, especially the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall. 'Chilla-i-Kalan' will end on January 31. However, the cold conditions will continue after that with a 20-day-long 'Chilla-i-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day-long 'Chilla-i-Bachha' (baby cold).

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