The cold wave sweeping Kashmir intensified on Wednesday as the mercury stayed several degrees below the freezing point, resulting in frozen water bodies and water supply lines in several residential areas. Leh town in Ladakh region recorded the lowest temperature this winter as mercury plummeted to minus 17.1 degrees Celsius last night, a Met department official said. The nearby Kargil recorded a low of minus 14.4 degrees Celsius, he said. Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir which recorded the coldest night in 11 years on Monday at minus 6.8 degrees Celsius, experienced a similar minimum temperature last night at minus 6.7 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Qazigund the gateway town to the Valley in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 5.9 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius last night.
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Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.4 degrees Celsius. The night temperature in Pahalgam, which serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir, settled at minus 7.9 degrees Celsius, the official said.
The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir was the coldest place in the Valley at minus 9.4 degrees Celsius.
The cold wave has resulted in freezing of some water bodies, including the fringes of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar, and residential water supply pipes in Srinagar and other towns of the Valley.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
'Chillai-Kalan' ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that. It is followed by a 20-day-long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day-long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).
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The winter this season has been largely dry, although there was a spell of snowfall in the Valley in early November. The prolonged dry spell has resulted in an increase in common ailments like cough, cold and other respiratory problems, especially among children and elderly people.
The weatherman has predicted rain or snowfall at isolated places in the Valley and Ladakh region on Wednesday.