Srinagar: Bright winter sun on Tuesday provided much needed relief to the residents of Kashmir division where night temperature improved slightly but continued to stay below the freezing point.
The minimum temperature in the summer capital, Srinagar, marked an increase of almost two degrees to settle at minus 2.3 degrees Celsius -- almost normal for this part of the season.
The city recorded a low of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius yesterday, a spokesman of the MeT office said.
The maximum temperature in Srinagar settled at 10.8 degrees Celsius yesterday, five degrees above normal and is expected to rise further today due to clear skies.
After overcast conditions yesterday, the sun shone this morning, providing relief to the residents from the bone chilling cold and paving way for resumption of normal activities early in the day.
However, the minimum temperature is expected to drop further in view of the absence of cloud cover.
The MeT office has predicted dry weather to continue with occasional bouts of rainfall in the upper reaches during this month.
Although, January last year also witnessed scant snowfall but this year a good snowfall is expected in the month of February.
This is a welcome news for the orchardists who are praying for an early end to the dry spell for a better crop in the coming season.
The dry weather has also triggered an epidemic of common winter ailments like cold and cough, prompting doctors to advise people to take precautions and refrain from venturing out in the mornings and evenings.
The residents of Ladakh region also heaved a sigh of relief as the night temperature rose by a few degrees.
Kargil recorded a low of minus 11.4 degrees Celsius against minus 12.0 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature recorded at Leh town was minus 11.1 degrees Celsius against minus 13.0 degrees Celsius the previous night, the spokesperson said.
He said the famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir, the star attraction for tourists, recorded a drop of one degree in the minimum temperature which settled at minus 6.0 degrees Celsius.
The famous ski resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir, which serves as the base camp for annual Amarnath yatra, also witnessed a drop of about two degrees in the night temperature which settled at minus 4.4 degrees Celsius against yesterday's minus 2.7 degrees Celsius, the MeT official said.
He said the night temperature recorded at Qazigund, gateway town to Kashmir valley, was minus 3.2 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara marked a slight improvement with a low of minus 1.7 degrees Celsius against yesterdays' minus 2.5 degrees Celsius.
Kokernag hill resort, recorded a drop of almost one degree in the night temperature to settle at minus 2.2 degrees Celsius, the spokesperson said.
Kashmir is in the midst of the 40-day-long harshest phase of winter, which began on December 21 and will continue till the end of this month.
Known as Chillai-Kalan in local parlance, the chances of snowfall are usually most frequent and maximum during this period.
The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chillai Bachha' (baby cold).
However, the harshest winter period has thus far remained largely dry except for brief spells of light snow in plains on two occasions and moderate snowfall in the higher reaches on a few occasions.