Srinagar records coldest night in 30 yrs. at -8.4º

Delhi shivers at 2º Cels: People in the National Capital woke up to a chilly foggy Thursday morning with the temperature dropping to 2 degrees Celsius, five notches below normal, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said here. Thick fog inundated the city reducing the visibility at certain areas to less than 10 metres. Cold winds from the Himalayan region, which has received fresh snowfall has plunged the temperature to 2 degrees on Thursday, the IMD said. Delhi, on Wednesday, recorded the minimum temperature at 3.2 degrees, which was four degrees below normal, while the maximum temperature was recorded at 18.5 degrees Celsius, one degree below normal. According to the Met, a large part of the country is set to face intense cold conditions over the next few days as the weather department has on Tuesday issued an orange alert for the northern plains.

Srinagar, Jan 14 (FN Agency) World famous Dal Lake and other water-bodies were on Thursday frozen as the summer capital, Srinagar, recorded the coldest night in 30 years after the mercury dipped and settled at minus 8.4 degree. The State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) Srinagar on Thursday warned people, particularly youth and children, not to walk on the frozen water of Dal Lake in the city, where hospitals have witnessed heavy influx of patients with broken bones following slipping on snow-bound frozen interior and link roads. A Met department spokesperson told that the city recorded the coldest night of the season so far at minus 8.4 degree, which is the coldest in 30 years. “We don’t expect the temperature to fall beyond this,” he added.

He said the city recorded minus 11.3 degree in 1991 while the lowest minimum temperature recorded ever in Srinagar was minus 14.4 degree in 1893. “In 1995, the night temperature recorded in Srinagar was minus 8.3 degree,” he said. However, there was some relief from chilly weather conditions in the afternoon as sunshine greeted people though ice cold winds continued in the city. “The minimum temperature recorded in the city was about 6 degree below normal,” he added.

As the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and other concerned departments have failed to clear snow on majority lanes, by-lanes and interior roads, the pedestrian and vehicular movement remained badly affected due to slippery conditions. People were finding it difficult to walk on the roads due to slippery conditions in the city, where dozens of people were injured after they fell due to slippery conditions as snow on majority link roads, lanes and by-lanes have not yet been removed. “I slipped yesterday due to slippery road conditions following non-clearance of snow from our interior road and broke my wrist. I have to keep my plaster on from over a month,” Umiya, a resident of Nayak Bagh, told. Similar, complaints of non clearance of snow and accidents due to it were coming from other parts of the city.

“We have not even seen such bad situation in the 80s, when SMC was not so powerful and there were no snow clearance machines. Authorities used to clear by-lanes and interior roads by engaging labourers,” Mohammad Ganai, an elderly person, a resident of Srinagar, told. Meanwhile, Shikarawalas were finding it difficult to move through frozen parts of the Dal Lake, where Quick Response Teams (QRTs) of J&K SDRF and River Police have been deployed as a precautionary measure to prevent people from moving on the frozen lake.

Tourists staying in houseboats and nearby hotels had a pleasant surprise to see frozen parts of the lake. It was in 1965 when the entire lake was frozen and a jeep crossed the frozen surface from one end to another end. In the late 80s and 90s, the frozen lake became a major attraction for tourists and locals, who used to take photographs and play cricket on the icy surface. Later, walking and playing on the frozen surface of the lake was banned and police personnel used to be deployed to prevent any accident. Very few vehicles were seen on the roads in the morning, moving in a very low speed due to slippery conditions in the city. However, things changed after the sun appeared, much to the delight of people though icy cold winds continued. Majority shops and business establishments, including at historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, reopened only after 1000 hrs. However, the “Haresa” famous winter dish in Kashmir, witnessed heavy rush of customers. People complained of the lake of passenger transport service available in the morning and in the evening. They alleged that in the absence of public transport, three-wheelers and cabs are charging them several time extra. People in many areas, including in the outskirts, also complained of water shortage. “Our taps were frozen due to chill,” they said and hoped that things may improve as the day progresses.