Intense cold conditions prevailed in parts of north India today as the mercury plummeted to minus 12.6 degrees Celsius in Leh, while Kashmir valley braced up for possible snowfall over two days from tomorrow.
The national capital, however, experienced a relatively warmer day with the minimum temperature settling at 8 degrees Celsius, a degree above the normal for this time of the season. The maximum temperature was recorded at 22.8 degrees Celsius, three notches above the normal.
The Valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harsh winter period known as ‘Chillai-Kalan’ which began on December 21 and during which the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum.
A Jammu and Kashmir MeT official said the mercury in Leh, the frontier Ladakh region, went down by over three degrees as it recorded a low of minus 12.6 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s minus 9.2 degrees Celsius.
The cold wave tightened its grip in other places in Kashmir division with Qazigund - the gateway town to the Valley along Srinagar-Jammu National Highway recording the minimum of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius, the official said.
There was some respite from the harsh winter in Srinagar where the minimum temperature settled at minus 2.7 degrees Celsius against yesterday’s minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, he said.
Chillai-Kalan ends on January 31, but the cold wave usually continues even after that. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
In other parts of north India, Amritsar recorded the lowest temperature in Punjab at 2.8 degrees Celsius.
Narnaul turned out to be the coldest place in Haryana today recording a low of 4.8 degrees Celsius while Hisar also experienced a cold night at 5.8 degrees Celsius.
The MeT office Jammu and Kashmir has said that there is possibility of light snowfall in the plains and moderate snowfall in the higher reaches of the Valley over two days from tomorrow.
The state government has asked the administration to gear up for providing uninterrupted essential services to people during the anticipated snowfall in the Valley.