Srinagar: Night temperatures plummeted across Kashmir Valley with the mercury settling at minus 7.8°C in Srinagar, the lowest temperature of the season so far and the coldest January night in the past eight years, weather officials said on Wednesday.
A meteorological department official said that previously the mercury had plummeted in Srinagar to minus 7.8°C on 14 January 2008, minus 8.3°C in 1995, and minus 11.8 in 1991, and the lowest ever was on 31 January 1893.
Similarly, the minimum temperatures plummeted in other parts of the Valley, settling at minus 11.3°C in Pahalgam against minus 5.3°C on the previous night. Qazigund, the gateway town of J&K, recorded a low of minus 9.3°C against 1.4°C on the previous night. Kokernag recorded a low of minus 9.9°C against minus 3.9°C on the earlier night.
Against minus 1.8°C on the previous night in Kupwara, the mercury settled at minus 5.6°C in the north Kashmir district, the official said.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 10.0°C against minus 11.2°C on the earlier night, the official said.
Kashmir is in the middle of Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day winter period which commenced on December 21 and ends on January 31. The period is considered the harshest of the winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum. The cold wave, however, continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold). Kashmir Valley received heavy snowfall earlier this month, disrupting normal life.
The weatherman has forecast “mainly dry weather” in the next 24 hours and “no significant change till January 18”.