Chillai Kalan ends on dry note

Srinagar: The upper reaches of Kashmir Valley will receive fresh snowfall while rains are likely to lash plains next week, the weather department said Friday, as the harshest 40-day period of the winter, ‘Chillai Kalan’, ends Saturday on a dry note.
“From February 2 to 4, the weather conditions will remain bad. We are expecting heavy snowfall in and around Pir Panjal range. Gulmarg and the areas around Jawahar Tunnel will also receive fresh spell of heavy snowfall,” director Meteorological Department, Sonam Lotus, told Kashmir Reader.
He said the plains, including this summer capital city of the state, will receive moderate rainfall for three days beginning Monday. There is also possibility of light snowfall during the same period.
“On February 2 and 3, weather conditions will remain rough. This is one of the driest Chillai Kalans the Valley has witnessed in more than three decades,” Lotus said.
Srinagar received just 4mm rains in January this year after recording lowest of 8 mm in 2007 and 9 mm in 1986. However, the warm days in Chillai Kalan were not surprising or abnormal, said Lotus.
“Even rainfall of 50 mm is normal in Srinagar. However, this time, we had very less rainfall,” he said.
Lotus said his department was analysing the prevailing weather conditions and all officials of the administration will be intimated in case a weather warning is issued.
“We’re constantly monitoring the weather conditions. We will issue warning only after ensuring weather conditions turn bad,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chillai Kalan would end on Saturday on a dry note much to the disappointment of the people in the plains. Chillai Kalan is the time when Valley usually receives heavy snowfall. The winter games at the world famous skiing resort of Gulmarg are timed with it.
Traditionally, the 70-day long winter starts in December and is divided into three spells—Chillai Kalan, Chillai Khurd and Chillai Baccha. Chillai Kalan is followed by a 20-day-long Chillai Khurd and a 10-day Chillai Bachha.
Meanwhile, according to the weatherman, Pahalgam recorded the coldest night of the season with mercury plunging to minus 11.2 degrees Celsius. At minus 9.6 degrees Celsius, Gulmarg remained second coldest place in the Valley.
Srinagar recorded the maximum temperature of 9.7 degrees Celsius, while the minimum was minus 3.5 degrees Celsius. Kupwara also shivered, recording a low of 3.8 degrees Celsius.
“South Kashmir’s Kokernag and Qazigund too registered biting cold, recording minus 4.5 degrees Celsius and minus 3.2 degrees Celsius respectively,” the officials said.
Leh and Kargil in Ladakh region also continued to freeze. While Leh recorded a low of minus 16.7 degrees Celsius, Kargil, the second most inhabited area in the cold desert, witnessed minimum of minus 17 degrees Celsius.