Kashmir under grips of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ with temperatures falling below freezing point

There was no let-up in cold wave conditions in Kashmir on Saturday as the minimum temperature stayed below the freezing point, even as the meteorological department said the valley is likely to receive light rain and snow over the next few days.

The weather across Kashmir has remained dry and cold since the snowfall on December 12, with the night temperature staying several degrees below the freezing point, MeT department officials said.

The officials said Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 3.7 degrees Celsius, slightly up from the previous night’s minus 4.3 degrees Celsius.

In the south Kashmir tourist resort of Pahalgam, the mercury settled at minus 4.5 degrees Celsius, up from minus 5.9 degrees Celsius the previous night.

The famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir was the coldest place in the valley at minus 6.5 degrees Celsius, down from minus 5.6 degrees Celsius the previous night, according to the officials.

Qazigund recorded a minimum temperature of minus 4 degrees Celsius, Kupwara minus 3.6 degrees Celsius and Kokernag minus 4.0 degrees Celsius, the officials said.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’ — a 40-day period of harshest winter when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.

The chances of snowfall are the maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall, the officials said.

The ‘Chillai-Kalan’, which began on December 21, will end on January 31. However, the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).

The weather department said there is a possibility of light rain and snowfall in the valley for the next few days starting Saturday.

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