Kashmir's 40-day harsh winter spell starts with freezing temp, but no snow | india | Hindustan Times
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Kashmir's 40-day harsh winter spell starts with freezing temp, but no snow

india Updated: Dec 21, 2013 18:39 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Chillai Kalan, a local nomenclature for the severest of the winter period, lived up to its image on the first day, with mist and fog enveloping the Valley for most of the day.

The 40-day harshest winter spell started in the Valley on Saturday amid bone-chilling cold and dense fog, with the winter capital Srinagar shivering at freezing temperature till 11 am.

Sub-zero temperatures in the morning ensured people preferred staying in, as most shops opened only after 10 am. The only shops buzzing with activity were of 'Harisa' sellers- a minced-meat breakfast dish sold only during winters.

"I sold my entire stock by 9 am only," said Aziz Ahmad, a Harisa seller. "The morning dish is served steaming hot. People prefer to have it at the shops only," he added.

"There was very poor light in the morning, and the chill was unbearable," said Niyaz Ahmad, on a morning walk in the city's downtown area.

According to the Srinagar meteorological department, the chill in the morning was because of the sub-zero temperature the preceding night. Srinagar recorded -3.9° Celsius on Friday night, while the maximum day temperature was around 6° Celsius.

MeT has forecast snowfall in the next 24 hours.

"There is possibility of light rain and snow at several places over the state. The outlook for subsequent two days is that there will be an increase in precipitation," said MeT director Sonum Lotus.

There has been light snowfall in the upper reaches this month, but Srinagar still awaits its first snowfall. "There are chances of snowfall in the last week of December," said Lotus.

Many tourists are camping in Gulmarg- where temperatures hover between minus three and minus seven degree Celsius- to celebrate Christmas with major snowfall around, as predicted by the MeT.

Leh continues to face the harsh winter spell, with temperatures plummeting to sub-zero levels throughout the day as well as night. Leh recorded -8° Celsius on Friday night.

Most people in Ladakh region have shifted to traditional dry latrines because of freezing of tap water. The region remained cut off from the Valley because of heavy snowfall on the Srinagar-Leh highway.

However, people are up in arms in Srinagar against the government, as it failed to supply scheduled electricity. There were protests in several districts over poor electricity supply on Saturday.

Many consumers in rural and urban pockets of the Kashmir valley depend only on electricity supply for heating systems.