Fresh snowfall in some parts of Kashmir led to a dip in the maximum temperatures but overnight cloud cover has resulted in higher than expected minimum temperatures across the valley, officials said on Monday.
Some parts of Srinagar witnessed sleet – a mixture of snow and rain -- very briefly, they added. The precipitation has resulted in the mercury falling during the day. However, overnight cloud cover ensured that the temperature settled around the freezing point in most parts of Kashmir last night, they said. The mercury in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, settled at a low of 1 degree Celsius – over two notches up from the previous night's minus 1.2 degrees Celsius, officials said.
Gulmarg, the famous ski resort in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius – up 2.4 degrees from the previous night. Pahalgam in south Kashmir Anantnag district, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius – two degrees up from the previous night, they said.
According to officials, Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded a minimum of minus 1 degree Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 2 degrees Celsius. The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of 0.5 degrees Celsius.
The meteorological office said under the influence of a feeble western disturbance, the weather is most likely to remain generally cloudy with possibility of very light to light rain/snow in the plains till Wednesday and light to moderate snowfall over the higher reaches.
There is no forecast of any major rain/snow till the end of this month, it said. 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 inputs from PTI.