Srinagar : Kashmir had its coldest day of the season so far with the minimum temperature falling to minus 7.2 degrees Celsius Monday.
“The minimum temperature today was minus 7.2 degrees Celsius making Dec 31 the coldest day of the season so far,” said T.K. Jotshi, assistant director, of the local weather office here.
“For the next few days we are expecting the same weather conditions to continue. It is going to be dry and cold and the minimum temperatures are going to stay around minus seven degrees Celsius for the next few days,” Jotshi said.
Kashmir has been experiencing extreme cold this winter because of an extended dry spell that has led to water shortages and forest fires in the Valley, which ironically is known as the land of rivers, springs and streams.
The Dal Lake in the state’s summer capital Srinagar has frozen in many places.
As the local rivers are flowing at their lowest, electricity supply has become very erratic.
“We have been over-drawing electricity from the northern grid on a regular basis. The generation from local power stations is low this time,” said Khwaja Nisar, chief engineer electric maintenance (Kashmir), here.
“To ward off the cold, residents here use electric heaters, electric blowers, blankets and so on to kept their homes warm.
“This happens almost entirely by way of pilferage as the actual consumption in such cases far exceeds the agreed load between the consumer and the department putting unforeseen pressure on our systems,” the chief engineer asserted.
Because of the extended dry spell here, there has been an alarming increase in the number of forest fires.
“Forest fires are raging at many places in the valley. Unless it rains or snows in the near future, the situation could worsen,” said Shabir Ahmad, 38, who lives in a mountain village in Ganderbal district of north Kashmir.