As winter intensifies in Kashmir, the region gears up for the 40-day phase known as Chilla-i-Kalan, which began recently and extends from December 21 to January 31. This phase signifies the coldest period in Kashmir, with temperatures plummeting well below freezing throughout the valley.
Following Chilla-i-Kalan, the region transitions into a 20-day period known as Chillai-Khurd, lasting from January 31 to February 19, followed by a 10-day Chillai-Bachha from February 20 to March 2.
Prior to the commencement of this intense cold period, temperatures in various parts of the Valley dipped below freezing. Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital, recorded a temperature of -4.4 degrees Celsius. Pahalgam emerged as the coldest location in Kashmir, with temperatures dropping to -6.3 degrees Celsius, while the popular ski destination of Gulmarg reported a low of -4.4 degrees Celsius. Additionally, Qazigund, Kupwara, and Kokernag recorded temperatures of -4.0, -3.5, and 3.3 degrees Celsius, respectively.
Despite the frigid conditions, the local meteorological department forecasts dry weather prevailing until December 28. The prediction indicates dry conditions until December 22, followed by a cloudy outlook with possible light snow in higher elevations on December 23. From December 24 to 28, the weather is projected to remain dry, with no significant weather disruptions anticipated.
Furthermore, Jammu and Kashmir experienced above-average precipitation between October 1, 2023, and December 20, 2023. However, specific areas like Srinagar, Anantnag, Budgam, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kulgam, and Pulwama received precipitation within typical levels during this timeframe.
Data sourced from the local meteorological department indicates that Kupwara and Bandipora observed reduced rainfall, while the Shopian district faced a notable rainfall deficit during the specified period.
Amidst the unforgiving winter conditions, the residents of Kashmir prepare for the challenges posed by Chilla-i-Kalan. The severe temperatures and potential snowfall necessitate resilience from the local community, defining a season characterised by extreme weather conditions and the community’s adeptness in navigating the ensuing frosty days.