Srinagar: As scores of tourists arrived in picturesque Kashmir to usher in the new year, the temperatures continued their free fall with Jammu and Kashmir summer capital recording a bone-schilling minus 4.3 degrees Celsius on Saturday.
"Leh recorded minus 18.4 degrees, the lowest so far this season, while the Kargil town had minus 15 degrees," Sonam Lotus, director of the local weather office, said here.
"South Kashmir`s Pahalgam hill station shivered at minus 7.4 and North Kashmir`s Gulmarg ski resort at minus 9 degrees," Lotus said.
Due to clear night skies, most of Kashmir Valley`s lakes and rivers have started freezing. The water bodies used as winter homes by thousands of migratory birds arriving here from Russia Siberia, China and other places have started freezing.
"This makes feeding movements of the migratory birds very difficult. If the situation continues like this, we would have to start feeding arrangements for our avian guests," said an official of the wildlife department.
Once the bird reserves get frozen, the wildlife department arranges huge stocks of paddy which are served to the migratory birds in the reserves.
"For three to four days more, we do not expect any respite from the present cold wave conditions in the Valley and the Ladakh region," Lotus said.