The 40-day period of harshest winter, known as "Chillai-Kalan", ended on Saturday as Kashmir Valley witnessed the driest winter in the last three decades with the lowest ever precipitation in January.
"This was one of the driest winters in the last three decades. It was in 1986 that the Valley witnessed such dry winter," Director MeT office, Sonam Lotus told PTI.
Lotus said the precipitation in January was the lowest ever this year. "The previous lowest precipitation was in January 2007 when it was 7 mm but this January it was recorded at only 4 mm. The normal for the period is 50 mm, so we can say that the weather was almost dry this winter," the director said.
He said though there were Western Disturbances which result in higher precipitation, the frequency of strong ones was rare.
"The frequency of strong WDs was very rare. This has happened only three times – in 1986, 2007 and this year - in the last three decades," he said.
Lotus, however, said there were chances of snowfall in the winter period ahead. "From tomorrow evening till the morning of February 3, moderate rains or snow would occur in plains of Kashmir while there are chances of moderate to heavy snowfall in the higher reaches of the Valley," he said.
As the weather remained dry, the minimum temperatures continued to hover below the freezing point with Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, recording a low of minus 2.9 degree Celsius, slightly up from the yesterday's minus 3.5 degrees.
Kargil in Ladakh region was the coldest recorded place in the state as the night temperature settled at minus 16.6 degree Celsius.
Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp during the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees. The hill resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir registered an increase of over a degree from minus 9.6 degree Celsius to settle at minus 8.0 degrees.
Kokernag hill resort in south Kashmir recorded a minimum of minus 3.2 degree Celsius while Qazigund on Srinagar-Jammu national highway recorded a low of minus 4.2 degree Celsius.
Kupwara, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 3.7 degrees, the official said. Leh, also in Ladakh, registered a low of minus 15.2 degrees.
"Chillai-Kalan" began on December 21 and will now be followed by a 20-day long "Chillai Khurd" (small cold) and a 10-day long "Chillai Bachha" (baby cold).