Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, saw a rise in the mercury with maximum temperature of 12.7 degrees Celsius on Saturday, which is seven degrees above the normal for this part of the season, a MET Department spokesman said.

Although it registered a slight dip in the night temperature which settled at minus 3.7 degrees Celsius compared to minus 3.3 degrees Celsius the previous night, he said.

In the absence of a cloud cover, the nights are usually colder as the minimum temperatures dip and hover around the freezing point.

He also said Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley in south, recorded a low of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius against the previous night's minus 4.4 degrees Celsius.

The mercury in south Kashmir hill resort of Pahalgam, which also serves as a base-camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a minimum of minus 6.4, slightly down from the previous night's low of minus 6.2 degrees Celsius, he said.

Pahalgam was the coldest recorded place in the Valley, the spokesman said. The MET Department has said a fresh western disturbance is likely to affect Jammu and Kashmir from January 20 onwards raising the possibility of rains or snow in the region.

"There is possibility of light to moderate rain or snow from January 21 afternoon to January 23," it said.

The weather in the state would likely remain dry till the time, the department said.

The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, the star attraction for tourists visiting the valley during winter, registered a minimum of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius – nearly two degrees up from the previous night's minus 7.4 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.

He said the night temperatures in Kupwara, in north Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 4.1 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag, in south, recorded the minimum of minus 1.4 degrees Celsius.

Leh town, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a minimum of minus 15.0 degrees Celsius, almost same as the previous night's minus 15.1 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.

He said the mercury in Kargil, also in Ladakh, settled at a low of minus 15.6 degrees Celsius, compared to the previous night's low of minus 15.8 degrees Celsius.

Kargil was the coldest recorded place in the state, the spokesman said.

Kashmir Valley is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' – the 40-day harshest winter period - which began on December 21. The chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent during this period.

Though 'Chillai-Kalan' would end on January 31, the winter continues after that. The 40-day period would be followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chillai Bachha' (baby cold).

Latest News from State News Desk