Kashmir freezes over, Pahalgam minus 16.1

January 16th, 2011 - 1:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Jan 16 (IANS) The bitter chill returned to Kashmir Valley Sunday with Pahalgam hill station being the coldest at minus 16.1 degrees Celsius and water in the taps freezing in Srinagar that shivered at minus 3.7 degrees.The Jammu-Srinagar highway was opened to one-way traffic after remaining closed for two days due to snowfall.

“Due to clear night skies, the minimum temperature dipped once again in the valley, increasing the winter chill as icy winds blew into the hinterland from snow-clad mountains,” said Mubeen Ahmad Malik, scientific assistant at the weather office here.

“Pahalgam recorded a minimum of minus 16.1 degrees Celsius today (Sunday), which is the lowest in the valley as also the lowest so far this winter,” Malik said.

Summer capital Srinagar was minus 3.7, two degrees below normal, while it was minus 14.2 in the Gulmarg ski resort.

“Leh recorded a minimum of minus 8 degrees and Kargil was minus 13.4 degrees. Winter capital Jammu had a minimum of 4 degrees, which is four degrees below normal,” the weather official said here.

Most water bodies in the valley were frozen and people woke up to frozen water taps.

“I had to rush to the mosque for ablutions before the morning prayers today. I found almost all my neighbours there for the same reason,” said Abdul Majid, a 61-year-old resident of north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.

Mosques across the valley have hot water arrangements for the devotees who come to offer prayers there.

Children were seen lighting small fires around the taps in many localities of Srinagar city to defreeze them while many portions of the Dal Lake also froze due to the sub-zero temperatures.

The weather office has forecast the cold dry weather will continue till Monday as clear night skies are likely to bring down the temperatures further.

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