Sunday, January 15, 2012

Valley records lowest temp in 17 years

For the first time in about 17 years the temperature in Srinagar dipped to minus 7.8 degree Celsius, almost freezing normal life.To add to the tough conditions, moderate to heavy snowfall is likely to take place within the next 48 hours with temperatures  expected to stay between 2 and minus 3.The last time mercury hit below -7 mark was on January 2, 1995, which was followed by an average minimum temperature of  around minus 4 degree Celsius.

“On January 2, 1995 the temperature recorded was minus 8.3 degree Celsius. And since then it is the first time we have seen temperature fall below minus seven,” duty officer at the meteorological department told Jk News.The valley was coldest on January 31, 1983 when the temperature was minus 14.4 degree Celsius. Afterwards, the mercury dipped to minus 9 degree Celsius in 1986, minus 8 degree Celsius in 1987 and minus 11.8 degree Celsius on January 20, 1991.The impact of the freezing cold was quite evident as people tried to heat the water pipes, tanks, car engines and everything  frozen due to the cold.  The auto rickshaw drivers, street vendors and labourers could be seen circled around the bonfires to  keep away the chill.“This is unimaginable. I do not remember the last time I saw the winter getting this cold. Exposed to cold, your feet and hands will turn numb in a moment...” said Murtaza, an auto driver in mid twenties, who was sitting near a container-turned-furnace near Lal Mandi here.

The cold has frozen from end-to-end the Dal Lake, which, however, has become a spectacle of adventure for the dventure-loving-youth. While the boatmen faced great difficulties in rowing the boats and shikaras, many youths could be seen taking a walk on the frozen surface of the Lake.“I have come here to see the frozen lake and I must admit that it is a treat to watch. I in fact walked a few meters on the surface to see how it feels,” Ashiq Mohi-ud-Din of Nishat said.The Met department has forecast light or moderate rain/snow for the next 48 hours while the higher reaches might receive heavy snowfall.

“Light to moderate snow and rains are likely to occur at most places in Kashmir region and at a few places in Jammu and Ladakh regions,” the Met officials said, sounding the warning: “Rather heavy snow would occur at isolated places in Kashmir Jammu regions during the next 48 hours.”LPG shortage A week of road block has exposed the government’s hollow claims of maintaining enough stock of essential supplies in the  Valley.

At present, when the valley is expecting 48 hours of snow and rains, the consumer affairs and public distribution (CAPD) department only has two days stock of the LPG available while it is “hoping” to receive a little more by this evening.

“Right now we have two days stock with us, but we have more containers on the way and we are hoping to receive them by this evening. That will make us a sufficient stock for a total of six days,” the deputy director CAPD, Shafqat Iqbal, said.

Asked about the meager stock of the LPG, he said: “Normally we have a 15 day stock in the valley, but there was a problem with HPCL which affected the supplies.”The likely snowfall from tomorrow, which may lead to closure of the highway again, might make the matters worse.“We have the supplies on way and we hope that the road stays clear so that it reaches us,” the deputy director said.

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