The 40-day period of harshest winter in Kashmir Valley, known as Chillai-Kalan, began on a warmer note as Sunday night temperatures rose across the Valley, increasing the chances of first snowfall of the season.
Chillai-Kalan, which begins with Winter Solstice, is the period when the chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent. The weather remains cold during this period as the day temperature also dips drastically, freezing most of the water bodies including the famous Dal Lake.
The winter games at the skiing resort of Gulmarg are heldduring this period.
Though minimum temperatures continued to remain below the freezing point, they went up by several degrees across the division, increasing the chances of snowfall in the region which has seen dry weather so far.
The MeT office here has predicted widespread rains or isolated snowfall over the next 24 hours.
The minimum temperature increased by over two degrees in Srinagar as the city recorded a low of minus 1.8 degree Celsius, compared to the previous night's minus 4.4 degree Celsius, a spokesman of the MeT office here said today.
The famous hill resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.4 degree Celsius, up by over three degrees from minus 6.2 degree Celsius recorded the previous night, the spokesman said.
He said Gulmarg, the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir and the star attraction for tourists visiting the Valley during the winter, recorded a minimum of minus 2.8 degree Celsius, as against the previous night's minus 3.4 degree Celsius.
The minimum temperature in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, increased by four degrees from minus 5.8 degree Celsius the previous night to settle at a low of minus 1.8 degree Celsius, he said.
North Kashmir's Kupwara town, 90 kms from here, recorded a low of minus 4.3 degree Celsius, the spokesman said, adding that Kokernag hill resort in south Kashmir recorded minus 1.7 degree Celsius.
The minimum temperature in Leh was recorded at minus 6.0 degree Celsius, over seven degrees up from the previous night's minus 13.9 degree Celsius, he said.
Kargil, also in Ladakh region, registered an increase of over three degrees from the previous night's low of minus 13 degree Celsius to settle at minus 9.6 degree Celsius, the spokesman said.