Cold tightens grip on most parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh

Night temperature across Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh plummeted below the season’s average on Sunday with Leh town recording the coldest night of the season at minus 13.2 degrees Celsius, the MET office said.

Srinagar and other places in Kashmir also recorded sub-zero temperature, while the minimum temperature in Jammu stayed over two notches below normal at 8.2 degrees Celsius, an official of the Meteorological Department said.

However, the early morning Sun provided relief to residents both in Kashmir and Jammu regions.

The famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir, which experienced several feet of snowfall last week, was the coldest recorded place in the valley with a low of minus 8.0 degrees Celsius, the official said.

He said Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir also recorded a minimum of minus 6.6 degrees Celsius while Kupwara township of north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 3.2 degrees Celsius.

The minimum temperature in Srinagar was minus 0.9 degrees Celsius, he said.

Katra, which serves as the base camp for pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi Shrine in Reasi district of Jammu region, recorded a low of 7.8 degrees Celsius, the official said adding Bhadarwah township of Doda district was, however, the coldest recorded place in the region with a minimum of 0.2 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, a traffic department official said efforts are on to restore the 434-km Srinagar-Leh National highway — the only road linking Ladakh with Kashmir — and Mughal road which connects the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with south Kashmir Shopian district.

While the Srinagar-Leh Highway was closed for traffic on November 27 following heavy snowfall in Zojilla pass and adjoining areas, the Mughal road was closed on November 6 after high altitude areas including Pir Ki Gali along the road experienced heavy snowfall.

“The Mughal road was cleared of the accumulated snow after several weeks of hectic efforts on November 26 but a fresh spell of snowfall hampered the efforts of its early reopening,” the official said, adding men and machines are on the job to clear the road of the snow.

Both the roads usually remain closed for winter months owing to heavy snowfall.