The 40-day-long Chilai-Kalan, the harshest winter period in Kashmir, ended Wednesday, even as officials asserted that this year's Chilai-Kalan was harshest-ever in a span of 12 years.
Chilai-Kalan begins annually on December 21 and the average minimum temperatures during this season's Chilai-Kalan plummeted to minus 6.4 degree Celsius. In 2007, the lowest minimum temperature recorded during Chilai-Kalan was minus 7.2 degree Celsius.
A meteorological department official said the highest number of wet spells was recorded in January this year, compared to the last 10 years.
During the last winter, Kashmir did not receive any major snowfall in Chalai-Kalan.
"After a gap of 10 years, Kashmir recorded more spells of snow in January this winter, so far," the official said, adding that in 2011, Srinagar received 1.6mm snow in January, while in 2012, it received 60.2mm snow, followed by January 2013 when 58mm snow was recorded during the month.
In 2015, the state's summer capital received 5.6mm snow in January followed by 2016 when this figure was 21.4mm during the month.
The first snowfall of this winter was experienced in November last week. Later, snow spells continued intermittently, causing disruption of air and surface traffic and leading to the closure of highways, cut off Kashmir from the rest of the world.
The Met official said by end of November, Jammu and Kashmir was rain-surplus by almost 38 percent. However, due to poor rains in December, the state's surplus got consumed fully, he said.
The reason for poor rains has mainly been attributed to feeble western disturbances.
From Wednesday onwards, Kashmir will experience 20-day Chilai-Khurd, which translates to "small cold", and 10-day Chilai-Bacha, which literally translates to "baby cold", thereafter.
During this Chilai-Kalan, officials say, 21 people died due to weather vagaries, including 10 labourers who died in Ladakh after two trucks they were travelling in were swept by a powerful snow avalanche.