The minimum temperature rose at most places in Kashmir on Saturday even as the Meteorological Department forecast light snowfall in the higher reaches of the valley, officials said. Srinagar recorded the minimum temperature of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius on Friday night, slightly up from the previous night's minus 3 degrees Celsius, the officials said.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 6 degrees Celsius, up three degrees from the previous night. The officials said Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 6.1 degrees Celsius, up from minus 6.6 degrees Celsius the previous night.
They said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded the minimum of minus 4 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 3 degrees Celsius. The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius.
The MET Office has forecast light snowfall over the higher reaches of Kashmir from Saturday evening which may continue till Sunday morning. Also, a widespread spell of snow or rain of moderate to heavy intensity is most likely during January 4 to 6 with the main activity on January 5 to 6. Heavy snow is expected at some places during the period as well, it said. The weather may affect surface and air transport, the MET Office said.
Kashmir valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as 'Chilla-i-Kalan' which began on December 21. 'Chilla-i-Kalan' is a period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here, as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall. The 'Chilla-i-Kalan' will end on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day-long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).
-With PTI Inputs