Traffic from Srinagar towards Jammu on highway today
Srinagar: The last night of Chillai Kalan in Kashmir was the coldest in the past 30 years in Srinagar, where the minimum temperature recorded on Sunday was minus 8.8 degree Celsius, even colder than the minus 8.4 degree Celsius that had broken a 15-year-old record on January 14.
The maximum temperature also set a record at 0.6 degree Celsius on Sunday, the lowest maximum temperature recorded this winter in Srinagar.
Colder temperatures than minus 8.8 Celsius were recorded in Srinagar before this only in 1991, when the mercury plunged to minus 11.8 Celsius. On January 31, 1893, the city had recorded its lowest-ever minimum temperature at minus 14.4 degree Celsius.
This January, as per the MeT (meteorological department) data, Srinagar has recorded minus 7.2 degree Celsius on the 30th, minus 7.7 on the 29th, minus 6.1 on the 22nd, minus 7.0 on the 21st. minus 6.0, minus 7.0 and minus 6.4 on the 20th, 19th, and 18th, respectively, while on the 17th, 16th and 15th, the minimum temperatures recorded were minus 7.6, minus 8.2, and minus 7.6, respectively. On the 13th, the mercury had settled at a low of minus 7.8 degree Celsius.
Apart from the freezing temperatures, three spells of snowfall were witnessed in January, with the heaviest received in the first week. It claimed three lives and resulted in damage to dozens of homes while also shutting down the Srinagar-Jammu national highway for six days. Air traffic, too, remained suspended for three days.
With the plummeting temperatures, the water bodies including the Dal Lake have worn a frozen look consistently, remaining completely or partially frozen. Water tanks and supply lines have been equally bearing the brunt, leaving people across the valley struggling for water supply till late in the day.
The cold-wave has worsened the situation in other parts of the valley so badly that the water supply has remained continuously cut off for the past several days. People have had to melt snow to get some water, or use traditional methods to collect water from nearby water bodies.
In Pahalgam, the mercury settled at minus 12.0 degree Celsius on Sunday, slightly up from minus 12.8 on the previous night, while in Qazigund it plunged further to minus 10.2 degree Celsius from the minus 8.8 degree Celsius on the earlier night.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 8.0 degree Celsius, up from minus 10.0 on the previous night. Kupwara recorded minus 4.7 degree Celsius, down from the minus 3.7 degree a night before.
Weather officials have predicted respite from the cold-wave from Monday. February, however, is likely to start with snowfall. The weather office has predicted light snowfall across plains and higher reaches of Kashmir valley for two days, on 2nd and 3rd of February.
Traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway will ply from Srinagar towards Jammu on Monday. As per the traffic department, traffic movement will be allowed only for Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs).
For Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs), the department said that only stranded vehicles between Nashri and Banihal will be allowed towards Srinagar.