Srinagar, Jan 2: Kashmir is currently in the clutches of a bone-chilling cold wave as the minimum temperatures continue to plummet below sub-zero, leading to the freezing of water bodies and causing challenges for the residents.
On Monday night, Srinagar experienced a minimum temperature of minus 4.8 degrees Celsius, resulting in a thin layer of ice forming over the surface of the Dal Lake.
Residents living on houseboats had to be content with the task of breaking through the frozen layer to navigate their boats towards the banks, highlighting the harsh conditions they face.
Extreme cold wave conditions have not spared the water supply infrastructure either, with frozen water supply pipes reported in many areas across Kashmir.
Pahalgam witnessed a minimum temperature of minus 6.2 degrees Celsius, further emphasising the severity of the cold.
In the north, the Gulmarg skiing resort recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius, while Qazigund, Kokernag, and Kupwara registered temperatures of minus 4.4, minus 2.7, and minus 4.6 degrees Celsius.
The entire Kashmir is grappling with the consequences of the prolonged dry spell, as there has been no precipitation forecast for the next six days.
Officials said that December witnessed a staggering 79 percent deficit in rainfall, and most plain areas of Kashmir have seen no snowfall.
The absence of cloud cover has exacerbated the situation, causing the minimum temperatures to drop even further in various parts of Kashmir.
Presently, Kashmir is in the grip of Chillai Kalan, a 40-day period marked by the harshest winter conditions.
This period, which began on December 21, is characterised by a significant drop in temperatures, leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the Dal Lake, and water supply lines in several parts of Kashmir.
During Chillai Kalan, the chances of snowfall are highest, especially in the higher reaches, and most areas anticipate heavy snowfall.
The Chillai Kalan continues until January 29.
However, even after the conclusion of Chillai Kalan, Kashmir continues to experience cold conditions during the subsequent 20-day-long Chilla-i-Khurd (small cold) which is followed by 10-day-long Chillai Bachha (baby cold).
The Meteorological Department (MeT) has predicted mainly dry weather till January 3.
Officials said from January 4 to 5 there is a possibility of generally cloudy and dry weather over plains and very light snow over isolated extreme higher reaches.
They said that from January 6 to 7, mainly dry weather was expected.
“Overall, there is no significant weather activity till January 7,” the MeT officials said.