No respite from intense cold |Srinagar freezes at minus 8.2 degrees C; fog affects surface, air traffic

The intense cold wave continues in the Valley as summer capital Srinagar on Friday night recorded minus 8.2 degrees Celsius, with dense fog affecting both surface and air traffic during Saturday morning.

During the night intervening January 13 and 14, Srinagar had recorded minus 8.4 degrees Celsius, making it the coldest recorded night in the last 29 years. There has been no respite from the bone-chilling cold as the minimum temperature on Friday night was minus 9.4 degrees in Pahalgam and minus 5.4 degrees in Gulmarg. Other parts of the Valley have also been reeling under the cold wave as Qazigund recorded minus 10 degrees Celsius on Friday night, making it the coldest recorded station in the Valley, MeT data said.

Water bodies including Dal Lake and supply lines have been freezing due to the cold wave. After several years, even the summer capital is witnessing formation of huge icicles from the rooftops and slippery surfaces during the morning which has been compounding problems for commuters.

Visitors and locals have been spotted stepping on the frozen parts of the Dal Lake and other water bodies. However, authorities have been asking people not to roam around on the frozen surface of the lake.

The Valley has been reeling under a cold wave since January 3 when a heavy snowfall was received leading to both air and surface transport being affected.

Fog affects surface, air traffic:

A thick layer of fog engulfed many areas in the Valley Saturday morning, including Srinagar causing traffic disruptions. Srinagar International Airport officials said there were some delays in the morning flights due to the fog and “two flights scheduled to operate between Srinagar and Jammu were cancelled due to poor runway visibility”, officials added.

“We had some delays in flights due to fog in Srinagar and Jammu in the morning. There were two flight cancellations during the day,” Director Srinagar Airport, Santosh Dhoke said.

Wet-spell “likely” from Jan 22: MeT:

The MeT department has said that “mainly dry weather is expected till January 21 in both J&K and Ladakh”. However, a Western Disturbance (WB) is likely to affect J&K during January 22 to 24, MeT officials said.

“There is a WD approaching J&K but more clarity about intensity and distribution of the wet-spell likely from January 22 will be known in the next one or two days,” said Deputy Director MeT, Mukhtar Ahmad.

Kashmir is in the middle Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day winter period which commenced on December 21 and ends on January 31. The period is considered the harshest of the winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum. 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).