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Cold wave intensifies in Kashmir

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Jammu records season's coldest day

Srinagar, Dec 25: Cold wave conditions intensified across Kashmir as the mercury slipped further below the freezing point, resulting in frozen water-bodies and water supply lines in several residential areas on Tuesday.

Srinagar, which recorded the coldest night in 11 years on Monday at minus 6.8 degree Celsius, experienced some respite as the mercury settled over a degree higher at minus 5.5 degree Celsius last night, a Met department official said.

The official said Qazigund in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 5.2 degree Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 5.3 degree Celsius last night.

Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 5.2 degree Celsius last night, he said.

The night temperature in Pahalgam settled at a low of minus 7.7 degree Celsius last night, the official said, adding the resort was colder than Gulmarg and the coldest place in the Valley.

The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a minimum temperature of minus 7.6 degree Celsius, he said.

The official said Leh recorded a low of minus 10.0 degree Celsius last night — up from minus 14.7 degree Celsius the previous night.

The nearby Kargil recorded a low of minus 14.2 degree Celsius, he added.

The cold wave has resulted in freezing of some water bodies, including the fringes of the Dal Lake here, and residential water supply pipes in many areas of the city and other towns of the Valley.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' — the harshest period of winter when chances of snowfall are believed to be maximum and the temperature drops considerably.

'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 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day 'Chilla-Bachha' (baby cold).

The winter this season has been dry so far, although there was a spell of early snowfall in the Valley in first and second week of November.

The prolonged dry spell has resulted in an increase in common ailments like cough, cold and other respiratory problems, especially among children and elderly.

The Met office has forecast mainly dry weather till Wednesday.

Meanwhile the residents of winter capital Jammu woke up to a chilly Tuesday morning as the mercury plunged to 4.1 degrees Celsius – the season's lowest so far.

Earlier on December 17, the city of temples had recorded a low of 4.4 degrees Celsius.

The upward trend in the mercury marked a dip on Monday when the night temperature settled at 5.3 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night's 6.7 degrees Celsius, a Meteorological department (Met) spokesperson said.

The night temperature is on a decline across the Jammu region, with the minimum temperature in Banihal and Batote, along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, and Bhaderwah, in Doda district, slipping to sub-zero levels, he said.

Banihal, the gateway to Kashmir, was the coldest recorded place in the region with a low of minus 3.3 degrees Celsius, followed by Bhaderwah at minus 2.2 degrees Celsius and Batote at minus 2 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.

He said Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting the famous cave shrine of Vaishno Devi in Reasi district, recorded a low of 5 degrees Celsius, down from 6 degrees Celsius the previous night.

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