Srinagar: A major portion of Kashmir's famous Dal Lake and several other water bodies froze on Thursday as the cold wave in the valley continued with Srinagar recording the coldest night in 30 years, officials said here. Srinagar recorded a low of minus 8.4 degrees Celsius, which was the coldest temperature recorded in the city in 30 years, an official of the MET department said.
He said while Srinagar had recorded minus 8.3 degrees Celsius in 1995, the temperature has fallen to minus 11.3 degrees Celsius in 1991. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Srinagar was minus 14.4 degrees Celsius in 1893.
The rest of the valley was also reeling under intense cold. Pahalgam tourist resort, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 11.1 degrees Celsius - up from the previous night's minus 11.7 degrees Celsius.
The resort was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir. The minimum temperature in Gulmarg tourist resort settled at minus 7 degrees Celsius - up from minus 10 degrees Celsius the night earlier.
Qazigund - the gateway town to the valley - recorded a minimum of 10 degrees Celsius compared to minus 1.4 degrees Celsius a day earlier.
Kupwara, in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.7 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag, in south, minus 10.3 degrees Celsius.
Vast areas of many water bodies including Dal Lake have frozen due to the bone chilling cold. The plunge in the minimum temperature has resulted in freezing of water supply pipes. A thick layer of ice has settled over several roads in the city and elsewhere in the valley, making it difficult for motorists to drive.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' -- the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.
While 'Chillai-Kalan' - which began on December 21 -- will end on January 31, the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day-long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).