Srinagar: While a cold wave has gripped Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, Drass froze at minus 24.6 degrees Celsius on Sunday night, making it the coldest recorded temperature of the season in the region so far. As per Meteorological Department, Leh recorded minus 13.2 degrees and Kargil minus 11.8 degrees Celsius on Sunday night.
The ski-resort Gulmarg in Baramulla also recorded the coldest night of the season so far at minus 9 degrees Celsius while summer capital Srinagar recorded minus 1.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday night.
MeT officials said with “clear sky and dry weather likely to continue for next few days”, night temperatures are expected to witness a further decrease.
“Till the end of this month minimum temperature in Gulmarg will fall by 2 or 3 degrees further. Even in the plains we expect to record a major drop in night temperatures during the next one week as we approach Chillai Kalan,” said Deputy Director MeT, Mukhar Ahmad.
As per MeT data, in December 1994 minimum temperature in Gulmarg had touched minus 14 degrees, which in the last three decades is the lowest for the ski-resort in the month of December. “Skies remaining clear and chilling winds are factors leading to sharp decrease in temperatures,” Ahmad said.
As per Indian Meteorological Department data, lowest minimum temperature at Gulmarg in the month of December, in the last 12 years was minus 12.5 degrees on December 24, 2015.
This December temperature in the tourism hub, located in the foothills of Affarvat mountains, has witnessed a sharp decrease from minus 3.7 degrees recorded on December 10 to minus 9 degrees on December 13 night.
It may be recalled that Chillai Kalan (harshest period of cold) starts from December 21 and ends on January 30, during which chances of snowfall are maximum.