Minus 8.4 in Srinagar is coldest recorded in January since 1991; frozen Dal Lake revives ‘childhood memories’ of many
Srinagar: The mercury continued to tumble in Kashmir valley, dipping to minus 8.4 in Srinagar, the lowest temperature recorded in the city since 1991. The dip in minimum temperature happened only a day after Srinagar recorded the coldest temperature in the last eight years of minus 7.8 degree Celsius on Wednesday.
It was in 1995 that the minimum temperature had reached minus 8.3 degree Celsius in Srinagar. After a span of 25 years, the mercury surpassed this previous record..
In 1991, the summer capital of J&K had recorded a low of minus 11.8 degree Celsius while as before that in 1986, the temperature stood at minus 9 degree Celsius. The lowest-ever recorded temperature in Srinagar city was witnessed in the year 1893, on 31st January at minus 14.4 degree Celsius, officials said.
“It is after 25 years that Srinagar city has recorded minus 8.4 degree Celsius. Our records say that in 1995 the mercury had plummeted to the low of minus 8.3 degree Celsius. The minimum recorded temperature on Thursday has broken the record of 1995,” Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director J&K Meteorological Department, told Kashmir Reader.
With the temperatures plunging so low, water bodies across Kashmir valley including the Dal Lake wore a frozen look on Thursday. The frozen Dal Lake however brought cheer to the people as well as to tourists who were left amazed at the extraordinary scene of the famous lake completely draped in a thick layer of ice.
While it came as a surprise to most of people, for the dwellers of Dal-Lake, the extreme frozen condition of the Dal Lake only brought back memories of past times, when they used to walk and play on its icy surface.
“In my childhood, we used to play many games on the surface of Dal Lake as it remained frozen fordays together. We used to walk freely on it, as it usually remained solid like a rock. Since then, I’ve witnessed such condition of this lake today after over two decades. The lake showed exactly the same scenes of ice and frost and revived the memories of my childhood today,” 33-year-old Riyaz Ahmad, owner of a houseboat in the Dal, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the times have changed, though, as dangerous activities are no longer allowed on the lake. “The administration isn’t allowing any activity on the frozen surface of the Dal to prevent people from drowning into it. In the past no one used to pay any attention to what was happening here, thus giving a free hand to the people. Still, only a few days ago one person drowned in the lake and died. We appreciate the steps taken by the administration to prevent such incidents,” Ahmad said.
While water bodies across Kashmir valley remain under deep freeze, water supply lines and storage tanks have been left blocked due to the freezing temperatures. Many areas of Srinagar city remained without any water supply till late afternoon on Thursday. People were seen looking for alternatives or trying to melt the frozen water in taps and pipelines with the help of fire or other heating elements.
“Since early morning we haven’t been able to get even a drop of water through the taps inside our home. We had to then use the water tap fitted outside our home to get water, which too remained frozen till afternoon. It was only after hectic efforts of warming up the tap and its pipe that we were able to extract the water in the afternoon,” said Suhail Ahmad, a resident of Bagh-E-Mehtab.
Similar was the situation in other parts of Kashmir, with areas from north to south under the tight grip of cold and people struggling for the supply of water. People using traditional methods to melt the freeze in their taps and pipes was a common sight in the day.
Besides this, the sub-zero temperatures also led to huge inconvenience to commuters on roads. The freezing temperatures left the roads slippery with a layer of frost, making it difficult for vehicles to move, especially during the morning.
As per the official data, minimum temperatures across Kashmir valley plunged several notches below normal on Thursday, intensifying the chill of Chillai Kalan further.
Tourist resort Pahalgam continued to remain the coldest place in Kashmir with a low of minus 11.1 degree Celsius on Thursday, as against the minus 11.3 degree Celsius on the previous night. Qazigund in south Kashmir recorded minus 10.0 degree Celsius against a low of minus 9.3 degree Celsius on Wednesday.
The famous-ski resort Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 7.0 degree Celsius against the minus 10.0 degree Celsius on the previous night. Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded minus 6.7 degree Celsius against the previous night’s minus 5.6 degree Celsius. Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded minus 10.3 degree Celsius on Thursday against minus 9.9 degree Celsius last night.
Ladakh region continued to reel under intense cold with Leh recording a low of minus 14.0 degree Celsius, Kargil minus 19.6°C, and Drass minus 28.3°C.
Weather officials said on Thursday that there will be slight respite from the cold wave from Friday across Kashmir valley, adding that the minimum temperatures will remain between minus 5 to 7 degree Celsius.
“We are expecting a slight respite from the cold wave from tomorrow for next few days. The temperature will not fall beyond minus 8.4 degree Celsius, which was recorded today. It will remain between minus 5 and minus 7 for next few days in Kashmir valley,” Dr Mukhtar said.