A day after receiving heavy snowfall, Kashmir Valley shivered in intense cold as mercury across the region plunged by several degrees with the summer capital and Gulmarg skiing resort recording the coldest night of this winter so far.
The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained closed for third consecutive day today. Although the road has been cleared of snow, the freezing overnight temperatures have rendered the road slippery and unsafe for plying of vehicles, officials said.
The officials said there was fresh snowfall around Jawahar Tunnel this morning which is likely to delay the reopening of the arterial 294-kilometre road, the only surface link between the valley and rest of the country.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar settled at minus 5.5 degrees Celsius, which was the coldest night in the city this winter, an official of MET department told PTI.
The city had recorded the season's low of minus 4.9 degrees Celsius in the third week of December.
Gulmarg, the star attraction for tourists visiting Kashmir during the winter, recorded a low of minus 16.5 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Qazigund recorded a minimum temperature of minus 8.4 degrees Celsius followed by Kokernag (minus 6.3 degrees Celsius), Pahalgam (minus 6.0 degrees Celsius) and Kupwara (minus 5.6 degrees Celsius).
The drop in night temperature has resulted in formation of a layer of ice even on the city roads while water supply pipes have been frozen.
Dal Lake and other water bodies in the valley were also partially frozen due to intense cold.
The weatherman has forecast snowfall or rains at few places in the valley over the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, electricity supply has not been restored in the valley so far as repair work on the transmission line between Northern Grid and Kashmir has not been completed yet, officials said.
They said the transmission line was cut off due to snowfall on Friday night and fresh snowfall was hampering the work.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah has directed authorities to supply electricity from internal power generation sources in the valley only to emergency services like hospitals only till full electricity is restored.