People walk on a street in Srinagar in the snowfall. (Press Trust of India Photo)
Mercury nosedived across Kashmir last night as minimum temperature settled several degrees below freezing point at all places in the Valley.
After remaining over the freezing point for six consecutive nights, the minimum temperature dropped by 5.5 degrees in Srinagar -- the summer capital -- to settle at minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, an official of the MET department said in Srinagar.
He said the minimum temperature increased by one degree in the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg as it recorded a low of minus 9.2 degrees Celsius against previous night's 10.3 degrees Celsius.
The official said the mercury in Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp during annual Amarnath yatra, also increased by one degree to minus 6.3 degrees Celsius against previous night s low of minus 7.1 degrees Celsius.
Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley - registered minimum temperature of minus 2.6 degrees Celsius, down by 4.2 degrees compared to the previous night.
The mercury in Kokernag settled at minus 1.4 degree Celsius compared to 0.1 degree Celsius the previous night, the official said.
He said that Kupwara, in north Kashmir, registered a drop of 1.5 notches in the mercury as it recorded a low of minus 3.0 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Leh town, in the cold desert of Ladakh, dropped by a degree to settle at minus 14.7 degrees Celsius against 13.5 degrees Celsius the previous night, the official said.
The nearby Kargil town recorded a low of minus 13.0 degrees Celsius, up by one degree compared to previous night, the official said.
Kashmir is in the midst of the 40-day-long harshest phase of winter, which began on December 21 and will continue till the end of this month.
Known as Chilai-Kalan in local parlance, the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum during this period. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chillai Bachha' (baby cold).
The MeT Office said there is possibility of light rains or snowfall in the Valley over two days from January 12.