Srinagar: With minimum temperature increasing by several degrees at most places in Kashmir division, including Ladakh region, there was some respite from cold here even as dark clouds engulfed the Valley with MeT department predicting rains or snow over the next three days.
"A fresh western disturbance has become active and there are chances of fairly widespread to widespread rains or snow for three days from today," a spokesman of the Meteorological department said.
Due to the cloud cover overnight, minimum temperatures in the Valley and Ladakh appreciated while the mercury in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, stayed above freezing point for the first time in the last six days.
The city recorded a low of 1.7 degrees Celsius, four notches above from minus 2.4 degrees Celsius of the previous night, the spokesman said.
The famous south Kashmir hill resort of Pahalgam, which also serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, registered a low of minus 1.4 degrees Celsius, again an increase of four degrees from the previous night's minus 5.4 degrees Celsius, he said.
Gulmarg, the star attraction for tourists especially skiers from across the country and abroad, recorded the minimum temperature of minus 3.0 degrees Celsius against minus 3.6 degrees Celsius yesterday, the spokesman added.
He said Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley in south, recorded a low of minus 0.2 degree Celsius, over three notches up from the previous night's minus 3.8 degrees Celsius.
Night temperatures in Kupwara, in north Kashmir, settled at a low of 0.5 degree Celsius ? an increase of over three degrees from the previous night's minus 3.1 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.
Kokernag, in south Kashmir, recorded the minimum of 1 degree Celsius, compared to minus 0.9 degrees Celsius yesterday, he added.
He said the mercury in Leh, in the frontier region of Ladakh, settled at a minimum of minus 12.4 degrees Celsius, an increase of three degrees from the previous night's low of minus 15.5 degrees Celsius.
The nearby Kargil town registered an increase of about two degrees in the night temperature as the minimum there settled at minus 12. 8 degrees Celsius, compared to minus 14.6 degrees Celsius the previous night, the spokesman said.
Kashmir Valley is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' ? the 40-day harshest winter period - which began on December 21. The chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent during this period. However, this year the weather has remained mostly dry with occasional snowfall or rains mostly in higher reaches.
Though 'Chillai-Kalan' would end on January 31, the winter continues after that. The 40-day period would be followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chillai Bachha' (baby cold).