Christmas celebrations sans snowfall in Kashmir; Srinagar records coldest Dec night in 11 yrs

Christmas will be celebrated without snowfall this year, even as the chilly weather conditions further intensified, with mercury plunging and settling several degrees below normal due to dry weather, across Kashmir valley.

Meanwhile, this summer capital of the state recorded the coldest December night in 11 years, after the mercury settled at minus 6.8 degree Celsius, resulting in freezing of world famous Dal Lake and other water bodies.

The night temperature in Srinagar was about 5 degree below normal. An all time low night temperature recorded in Srinagar in this month was minus 12.8 degrees on December 13, 1934.

A Met department Spokesperson told UNI that weather will remain dry during the next 48 hours in Kashmir valley, which could result in further dip in the night temperature.

‘The weather will remain dry and the Christmas celebrations will be without traditional snowfall for the second successive year,’ he said.

However, he said a fresh Western Disturbance (WD), which originated from the Arabian Sea and is approaching the region though Afghanistan and Pakistan, will hit the region on Wednesday.

‘The WD will not have much impact on the state, though rain and snow could occur at isolated places on Wednesday,’ he added.

The border town of Kargil was coldest in the region at minus 15.3 degrees, followed by Leh, where the mercury dipped and settled at minus 14.7 degrees.

He said sky will remain mainly clear during the next 24 hours in Leh, where the maximum and minimum temperatures will be around 6 degrees and minus 16 degrees, respectively.

Mercury at the world famous ski resort of Gulmarg, about 55 km from here in north Kashmir, dipped about a degree from Sunday and settled at minus 6.8 degrees, which is about a degree below normal.

Meanwhile, despite chilly weather conditions, hundreds of tourists have arrived in Gulmarg, where the ski slopes are covered with about 2 to 3 feet of snow, to celebrate Christmas at the famous St Mary Church, the Victorian Architectural Wonder, built in 20th century.

However this year, the tourists will be disappointed, as Met department has predicted dry weather during the next 48 hours.

World famous tourist resort of Pahalgam, about 100 km from here in south Kashmir, was coldest in the valley. Against minus 6.7 degrees recorded on Sunday, the night temperature in Pahalgam was minus 7.2 degrees, about 2 degrees below normal.

Mercury at Qazigund, gateway to the valley, Kupwara in north Kashmir and tourist resort of Kokernag dipped and settled at minus 5 degrees, minus 6 degrees and minus 3.9 degrees, respectively.

The Insides Speak