Chillai-kalan, the harshest 40-day winter period in Kashmir, ended on Sunday breaking a decades-old record as Srinagar registered its lowest minimum temperature in 30 years, while the maximum temperature barely managed to breach the freezing point, officials said.
Srinagar city, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 8.8 degrees Celsius Saturday night–down from minus 7.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said.
The city reeled under sub zero temperatures throughout the day. Both the minimum and maximum temperatures in Srinagar were eight degrees below normal for this time of the year.
This was the lowest minimum temperature recorded in the city since 1991 when the mercury had fallen to minus 11.4 degrees Celsius. Srinagar had recorded a low of minus 8.4 degrees Celsius on January 13.
Qazigund – the gateway town to the Valley – recorded a minimum of 10.2 degrees Celsius, down from minus 8.8 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said. The minimum temperature at Gulmarg in north Kashmir's Baramulla district settled at minus 8 degrees Celsius last night.
Pahalgam tourist resort, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 12 degrees Celsius – marginally up from previous night's minus 12.5 degrees Celsius. The south Kashmir resort was the warmest place, recording a maximum temperature of 3.5 degrees.
Kupwara recorded a low of minus 4.7 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag, in the south, recorded minus 13.1 degrees Celsius. The extreme sub zero temperatures have resulted in freezing of water bodies and drinking water supply lines in many areas of the Valley.
Though 'Chillai-Kalan' has ended, there will be little respite in store for residents of Kashmir as the minimum temperatures are expected to remain below freezing point for the next couple days. The weatherman has forecast the possibility of a western disturbance hitting the Valley on February 2.
The cold wave continues even after Chillai-Kalan in Kashmir with a 20-day-long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day-long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).