SRINAGAR: The 40-day harshest winter period in Kashmir known as ‘Chillai-Kalan’ ended on Wednesday with Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, receiving no snowfall and experiencing only 2-4 mm rainfall during the period against the normal average of 54 mm rain/snowfall.
Chilai Kalan, the 40-day harshest winter period when chances of snowfall and rains are maximum, ended on the dry note today.
The 40-day period is the coldest and harshest period of winter in Kashmir. It starts on December 21 and ends on January 31.
During Chilai Kalan, Kashmir remains in grip of cold wave conditions with maximum chances of snowfall and rainfall.
However, during this Chilai Kalan, the day temperature was above five degrees normal due to dry weather conditions. During nights, the temperature remained below freezing point.
The 40-day period passed off with no snowfall in Srinagar and other plains in the Valley. The upper reaches of the Valley received light to moderate snowfall many a times but overall the snowfall was much below normal.
Due to less snowfall this Chilai Kalan, there is not much snow in the world famous ski resort of Gulmarg, where domestic and foreign tourists used to throng in winter for skiing.
Deputy director metrological department Srinagar, Mukhtar Ahmad told New Indian Express that as against the average of 54 mm rain/snowfall in Valley in January, only 2-4 mm rainfall was experienced in January this year.
He said before this year, dry spell was recorded in 2015, when only 5.16 mm rain/snowfall was experienced in January. “Similarly in 2007, only 8.1 mm rain/snowfall was recorded in January”.
In last 38 years, snowfall was recorded below normal in 18 years and above normal in 20 years.
Mukhtar said there are chances that the light rain/snowfall might take places in Srinagar and upper reaches of the Valley from this evening.
Asked whether there are chances of snowfall in February, he said there are chances of snowfall on February 6-8.
“However, it depends on the weather system. We have seen in the past that either the weather system gets weakened or passes through J&K without bringing snow or rain to the State,” Mukhtar said.
The end of Chilai Kalan does not mean end of the harsh winter in Kashmir.
Chilai Kalan is followed by 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chilla Bachha’ (baby cold).
There have been occasions in the past when heavy snowfall was recorded in Valley during the February.
Another Metrological department official said snow is very important and crucial for Kashmir.
He termed snow as lifeline for the Valley saying, “Since Kashmir is a bowel-shaped Valley, we need snow. It (snow) is our store house of water in the shape of glaciers”.