Cold wave returns

Photo: Mubashir Khan/GK

After witnessing a respite from the freezing temperatures for the last two days, the Valley has once again been gripped by an intense cold wave.

Summer capital Srinagar recorded minus 5.2 degrees Celsius on Sunday night, several notches below the normal. A day earlier, the minimum temperature in Srinagar was recorded at minus 1.9 degrees Celsius but the sharp decrease in night temperature has once again led to frozen surfaces in the morning causing difficulties for people. The Valley was reeling under a cold wave from January 13 till the recent snowfall.

The low sub-zero temperatures have once again caused freezing of water bodies and supply lines.

The ski-resort Gulmarg recorded minus 11.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday night while Pahalgam in south Kashmir recorded minus 11.9 degrees Celsius, making it the coldest recorded station of the Valley, the MeT data said. Qazigund recorded minus 5.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday night.

Speaking with the Greater Kashmir, Director MeT Sonam Lotus said a “gradual rise in day temperatures and further drop in night temperatures” was likely during the next few days. Lotus said weather in Jammu and Kashmir will “remain mainly dry” till January 31. “A mainly clear to partly cloudy sky is likely due to which we expect more decrease in night temperatures during the next few days,” Lotus said.

Kashmir is witnessing the last week of the 40-day harshest winter period of Chilai Kalan, which started on December 21. This season has witnessed a severe Chilai Kalan, as temperatures in the Valley witnessed a record low of 29 years. The mercury had plummeted to as low as minus 8.4 degrees in Srinagar earlier this month, causing freezing of water bodies and supply lines.

Meanwhile, the Valley witnessed cloudy weather for most of Monday but as sunshine greeted in the afternoon, there was some respite from the bone-chilling cold. Srinagar recorded 5.9 degrees maximum temperature while Gulmarg recorded minus 2.8 degrees Celsius maximum temperature on Monday. Pahalgam recorded 2 degrees Celsius maximum temperature on Monday. The Valley had received a moderate snowfall on Saturday and earlier a heavy snowfall on January 4 and 5. 

Only stranded vehicles allowed to move on highway :

The 270-kilometre Srinagar-Jammu National Highway which was reopened for stranded vehicles on Sunday will remain open on Tuesday for stranded vehicles which are on the way towards Srinagar, a Traffic Department advisory said. The advisory said no fresh traffic will be allowed on the highway.

“Tomorrow, subject to fair weather and better road condition only stranded vehicles between Ramban and Jawahar Tunnel shall be allowed towards Srinagar including Ramban-Banihal (local traffic). No vehicle shall be allowed from Jammu or Udhampur towards Srinagar,” the Traffic Department advisory said. It may be recalled that traffic had remained suspended on the highway for one week after the retaining wall of a bridge at Kelamorh near Ramban collapsed. However, later a bailey bridge installed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) had helped to restore traffic on the highway. “The weight bearing capacity of the installed bailey bridge is less than 40 metric ton,” the Traffic advisory said.

Mughal road which connects the Valley with Pir Panchal region and the Srinagar-Leh Highway remain closed due to the accumulation of snow.