Valley prepares for `Chillai Kalan` amidst intense cold

Last Updated: Monday, December 20, 2010 - 14:52

Srinagar: The bone-chilling cold wave continued to intensify its grip over the Kashmir Valley as its residents prepare themselves for `Chillai Kalan`, the harshest 40-day period of winter, which begins Tuesday.

Night temperature in the Valley has stayed three to four
degrees below normal for this time of the year and Srinagar
witnessed the coldest night of winter so far at minus 5.6
degrees Celsius, recorded during the early hours yesterday.

The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir recorded a
minimum temperature of minus 5.0 degrees Celsius today, a MET
department official said.

Other main towns of the Valley are also experiencing an
unusually cold winter as the night temperature has stayed
below the freezing point for most of December.

Frozen taps have become a common sight in the Valley as
a thin layer of ice forms over water bodies due to freezing
temperatures during the nights.

Electricity supply has also reduced due to the cold wave
as the glacial discharge in the rivers, which fuels power
generation projects, has decreased, resulting in unscheduled
load shedding for long hours becoming a daily affair.

The early setting in of the cold wave has raised concerns
among the residents that Chillai Kalan will be even harsher.

These concerns have grown as the weatherman has forecast
dry weather for the next 48 hours.

"Generally, snowfall around the start of Chillai Kalan
provides relief from intense cold and freezing temperatures
but that has not happened yet. The open skies with no cloud
cover have made it worse as it reduces the chances of any kind
of downpour," 75-year-old Abdul Gani, a resident of the
Valley, said.

"The dry winter has also resulted in significant increase
in common ailments like cold, cough and respiratory problems,
especially among the children and elderly. It also causes skin
problems," general physician Dr Mohammad Tanveer said.
Chillai Kalan is the period when the chances of snowfall
are maximum and the most frequent as well.

Snowfall and rains during the winter usually lead to
cutting off the Valley from the rest of the country as the
Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the only road linking Kashmir
to other parts of the country, is blocked by heavy snow.
A good snowfall, however, ensures that games like skiing,
ice skating and snow boarding would go on for a longer period
at hill resorts like Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam and Patnitop
in Jammu region.

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 20, 2010 - 14:52

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