Cold wave conditions tightened grip in Kashmir as the mercury went down at most places last night, with Leh, in the Ladakh region, experiencing the coldest night of the winter so far.
Leh recorded a low of minus 15.8 degrees Celsius last night—over three degrees down from minus 12.7 degrees Celsius the previous night, MET officials said, adding it was the coldest night of the season in the frontier town.
The officials said the night temperature at most places in the Kashmir division went down last night as the cold conditions tightened grip in the valley and Ladakh region on the second day of 'Chillai-Kalan' – the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
Srinagar—the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir—recorded a low of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius last night, a notch down from the previous night, the officials said.
They said the minimum temperature in the city was over three degrees below the normal for this time of the season.
The officials said Qazigund—the gateway town to the valley—in southern Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4.9 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius last night.
Kupwara in northern Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.1 degrees Celsius last night, they said, adding it was the season's lowest night temperature there.
The night temperature in Pahalgam, which serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnathyatra in southern Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 7.4 degrees Celsius last night, while the ski-resort of Gulmarg in northern Kashmir recorded the minimum temperature of minus 6.0 degrees Celsius.
The MeT office has forecast mainly dry weather till Wednesday.
'Chillai-Kalan' ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).