"The night temperature dropped to minus 3.4 degrees Celsius in Srinagar today (Thursday). This is the coldest recorded here this season so far," an official at the weather office in Srinagar said.

Mercury also slipped well below the average for the season across the Kashmir Valley.

"In Gulmarg, the minimum was minus 6.1 degrees Celsius and minus 5.2 in Pahalgam, while Leh recorded minus 11.8 degrees Celsius and Kargil town minus 9.2 today (Thursday). The minimum temperature in Jammu city was 6.5 degrees," the official of the weather office said.

He said that because of the expected clear night skies during the next 48 hours across Jammu and Kashmir, the night temperatures are expected to drop further, intensifying the present cold conditions.

A thin layer of frost was seen on roads in the city and suburban areas in Thursday morning, forcing drivers to slow down and move cautiously.

Parts of water bodies in and around the Srinagar city also froze in the morning. People at some places were seen lighting small fires to de-freeze water taps.

The 40-day severe period of winter, known locally as the 'chilla Kallan', is still nine days away.

Traditionally, this 40-day period of severe cold begins in the Kashmir Valley on December 21 and ends on January 31.


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