In J&K, sub-zero temperatures returned to the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh as the mercury plunged with Gulmarg and Pahalgam witnessing extreme cold conditions, officials said on Tuesday. Gulmarg, the famous ski resort in Baramulla district, recorded a low of minus 10.6 degrees Celsius. This is for the third straight night that the minimum temperature in Gulmarg has fallen to minus 10 degrees Celsius or below, meteorological officials said. South Kashmir's Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of minus 10.4 degrees Celsius, a drop of nearly eight degrees, they said.Srinagar was the only place where the minimum temperature was above the freezing point at 0.2 degrees Celsius on Monday night, The MeT office said the weather is likely to stay mainly dry over the next few days.
The Kashmir Valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as 'Chilla-i-Kalan' that began on December 21 and will end on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold). The chances of snowfall are the maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall. The mercury settled at a low of minus 3 degrees Celsius in north Kashmir's Kupwara.The Leh region in Ladakh recorded a low of minus 12.9°C while the mercury in Kargil settled at minus 11.3°C. Drass, the second coldest place in the world after Siberia, recorded a low of minus 24.2°C, almost three times lower than last night’s minus 8.8°C, the official said.