Chila-i-Kalan ends on a freezing note
Srinagar: The forty day long harsh winter period in Kashmir will end today with Cold wave conditions continuing across the region as the mercury stayed several degrees below freezing point across the valley, officials said.
Srinagar city – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – recorded a low of minus 7.2 degrees Celsius marginally up from minus 7.7 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said.
Qazigund the gateway town to the valley recorded a minimum of 8.8 degrees Celsius up from minus 10.8 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said.
The minimum temperature at the Gulmarg skiing resort, in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, settled at minus 10.0 degrees Celsius – up from last night’s minus 11.5 degrees Celsius.
Pahalgam tourist resort, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 12.5 degrees Celsius marginally down from previous night’s minus 12.0 degrees Celsius.
Kupwara recorded a low of minus 3.7 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature in Kokernag, in the south, settled at minus 10.9 degrees Celsius.
The extreme subzero temperatures have resulted in freezing of water bodies and drinking water supply lines in many areas of the valley.
The minimum temperatures are expected to remain below freezing point for the next few days as the weatherman has forecast the possibility of a western disturbance hitting the valley on February 2.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies including the famous Dal Lake here.
The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.
While ‘Chillai-Kalan’ which began on December 21 — will end on January 31, 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).
Notably, the night temperature continued to remain below freezing point across Kashmir while the local weatherman here predicting an improvement in the minimum temperature from tonight onwards.
Director Meteorological department (MeT), Sonum Lotus said that minimum temperature has gone low this Chila-i-Kalan after probably 25 years, but this happens as it is normal and has nothing to do with climate change.
“People have been relating the prevalent weather conditions with climate change, which is incorrect. This weather conditions were recorded two decades back when there was no talk about climate change,” he said.
He added that dip in the minimum temperature especially after January 24 was the outcome of northern wind that prevailed over the region so far.
“The minimum temperature would start gradually improving from tonight onwards,” he added.
Lotus informed that this Chila-i-kalan, there was a heavy snowfall in the beginning of the month following which dry spell prevailed across Kashmir, adding that in absence of frequent snowfall and open sky during day, the minimum temperature plummeted in the Valley.
About forecast, Lotus said there is possibility of light snowfall at scattered places in Kashmir region between February 03-04.
Meanwhile, MeT spokesman said that Srinagar recorded the coldest day in Chila-i-Kalan today as the mercury settled at 2.0 degree Celsius as against 2.1 degree Celsius last day. (with inputs from PTI, KNO)