40-day-coldest winter ends, still no respite from cold in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Jan 31 (UNI) Even though the 40-day-long ''Chalai Kalan'', coldest period of the winter ended last night, people in the Kashmir valley and Ladakh region continued to shiver in severe cold after the minimum temperature dipped to several degrees below normal.

Drass, the second coldest place in the world after Siberia, continued to remain cold after the temperature dipped to minus 25 degrees celsius this morning while at Leh it was minus 22 degrees.

Pahalgam, a major tourist attraction and base camp for Amarnath cave, remained coldest in the valley with minimum temperature dipping to 15.7 degrees celsius, freezing majority water sources.

The 40-day-long Chalai Kalan has ended last night and now the 20-day-long Chalai Kharud, relatively less cold then Chalai Kalan began this morning which will be followed by ten-day-long Chalai Bacha.

However, there was no much change in the night temperature which was minus 4.3, two degrees below normal this morning against yesterdays minus one degree, which was one degree above normal.

The day was however warm with clear sky today.

Because of clear weather during the night, the minimum temperature falls and the maximum go up, a weather official spokesman told UNI.

He said tourist resort of Pahalgam recorded minus 15.7 degree celsius this morning with the result majority water resources were frozen.

The water level in Lidder and other small rivers and nullahs has also come down as snow has freezed on the upper reaches, main source of these water bodies.

Kupwara in the north Kashmir also was coldest with mercury dipping to minus 10.8 degrees celsius this morning, affecting normal life.

The minimum temperature at Qazigund on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was minus 5.6 degrees, Banihal minus 3.8 degrees, Batote on other side Jawahar tunnel 0.6 and at Jammu it was 3.2 degrees celsius, the spokesman said.

He said the temperature was minus 22 degrees this morning Leh in Ladakh region.

However, Drass the second coldest place in the world, remained cold with minimum dipping to minus 25 degrees while at nearby Kargil it was minus 17 degrees.

The authorities in the world famous ski resort Gulmarg, where National Winter Games are being held in the second week of next months, has made arrangements for providing water to visitors and others.

The ski resort faced acute water shortage after majority sources besides tapes were freezed due to severe cold after heavy snowfall.

The tapes and water sources remained frozen as there was no let up in the cold during the night, official sources said.

They said the authorities are now supplying water to guests and others through other means to meet the requirement partially.

UNI BAS KK ND1646

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