Kashmir valley in grip of severe cold wave, Dal Lake freezes


SRINAGAR, Jan 14: The minimum temperature dropped at most places in Kashmir on Friday as the intense cold wave conditions continued in the valley, officials said here. The night temperature settled several degrees below normal for this part of the season.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, was the only place in the valley where the night temperature improved on Thursday night, the officials said.
The resort recorded a low of minus 10.5 degrees Celsius, slightly up from minus 11.0 degrees Celsius.
It was for the sixth straight night that the minimum temperature has settled at minus 10 degrees Celsius or below, the officials said.
Pahalgam in south Kashmir Anantnag district, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 10.3 degrees Celsius, a degree down from the previous night, they said.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, settled at minus 3.4 degrees Celsius half-a-degree down from the previous night, the officials said.
They said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded the minimum of minus 7.8 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 7.5 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius.
The MET Office said the weather is likely to stay mainly dry over the next few days and the minimum temperature is likely to drop further.
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).
However, parts of famous Dal Lake froze as night temperature in Kashmir valley slipped by several notches with icy winds blowing from the snow bound mountains sweeping to the plains on Friday.
Small rivulets, nallas and streams connecting the interior parts of Dal Lake were covered with a thick layer of frozen ice sheets as cold conditions prevailed in Srinagar with temperature plummeting to minus 3.4 degree Celsius on Friday which is minus 2.1 degree Ce;sois below normal.
Children were seen breaking the frozen ice surface of the lake in the interior parts and having fun.
Dal Lake is surrounded with high snowclad mountains from where the cold wind blows to the plains making life difficult especially for the inhabitants and the houseboat men living on the lake.
Kashmir valley including Srinagar recently experienced moderate to heavy snowfall resulting in further drop in night temperature and sweeping icy cold winds all across.
MeanhileOne way traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was restored on Friday after remaining closed amid landslides and shooting of stones at various places on the road.
Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) were allowed to move from Srinagar to Jammu on the highway, the only surface link connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country which remained closed for vehicular traffic on Thursday due to landslides and other debris at various places were cleared off the road, a traffic police office said.
The LMVs carrying passengers were allowed to move via Maitra route through Navyug Tunnel at Qazigund Side from 1100 hours. He said mini buses, tempo travelers and other heavy vehicles will not allowed as the capacity of the bridge at Maitra road doesn't support these vehicles.
He said no traffic was possible via Mehar because of continuous shooting stones at slide point.
Meanwhile, Mughal Road, Srinagar-Sonamarg-Gumri road and Kishtwar-Sinthan road remained shut for vehicular movement in view of heavy snow accumulation, he added.

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