Cold waves tightened their grip on the Kashmir Valley ahead of the onset of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ -- the 40-day harshest winter period -- with Srinagar and Leh recording the coldest night of the season.
Chillai-Kalan, considered the harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum, will begin from Wednesday.
The weather usually remains cold during this period with the mercury remaining several degrees below freezing point, which often leads to freezing of water supply lines as well as water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake.
Srinagar recorded a low of minus 5.5 degrees Celsius on Monday night, down over a degree from the previous night’s minus 4.2 degrees Celsius, an official of the MeT department said.
He said this was the lowest night temperature the city had experienced so far this winter.
The official said the sub-zero temperatures had resulted in freezing of water supply lines in many areas of the Valley, while fringes of several water bodies were also frozen.
Leh, in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, also recorded the coldest night of the season as the mercury there settled at a low of minus 14 degrees Celsius -- down from the previous night’s minus 13.8 degrees Celsius.
Qazigund -- the gateway town to Kashmir Valley -- also experienced the coldest night of the season, the official said. The mercury in the town settled at a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius compared to minus 3.8 degrees Celsius on Monday.
The MeT department official said the north Kashmir town of Kupwara recorded a low minus 4.8 degrees Celsius, against minus 4.2 degrees Celsius the previous night.
The Pahalgam health resort in south Kashmir -- which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra -- recorded minus 6.2 degrees Celsius.
The mercury at the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 3 degrees Celsius while the minimum temperature in Kokernag town of south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius.
The meteorological department has forecast mainly dry weather in the state this week.