Season’s first snowfall at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine; rains lash Jammu

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STATE TIMES NEWS

Jammu: The famous cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi atop the Trikuta Hills witnessed its first snowfall this season on Sunday, officials said.
There was no disruption in movement of devotees, they said.
Many high-altitude areas in the Union Territory witnessed snowfall, while the plains, including Jammu city, received intermittent rains amid heavy cloud cover during most part of the day.
The snowfall on the Trikuta Hills, including at the ‘Bhawan’ (sanctum sanctorum) of started around 5.30 pm and lasted for nearly half-an-hour, the officials said.
They said the weather at the shrine remained cloudy with intermittent spells of rainfall earlier during the day.
The pilgrimage to the shrine continued and the devotees were also seen enjoying the snowfall, the officials said.
Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine, recorded a maximum of 14.8 degrees Celsius against the previous day’s 19.8 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature settled at 5.7 degrees Celsius.
Jammu also recorded a dip of two notches in the day temperature which settled at 17.2 degrees Celsius 1.8 degrees below the normal, a spokesman of the MeT department said.
He said the night temperature in Jammu was 4.2 degrees Celsius which is also 3.2 degrees below season’s average.
Meanwhile, the cold wave intensified in Kashmir with the minimum temperature dropping across the valley to stay several notches below the freezing point.
The weather has remained dry and cold across Kashmir since the snowfall on December 12, with the night temperature staying several degrees below the freezing point, the officials of Meteorological (MeT) Department said.
The MeT office has forecast light rain or snow in the Kashmir Valley over the next three days.
The officials said Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir recorded a low of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius down from the previous night’s minus 3.7 degrees Celsius.
They said the mercury in Pahalgam tourist destination in south Kashmir settled at minus 5.9 degrees Celsius, up more than a notch compared to the previous night’s low of minus 4.5 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 7.2 degrees Celsius down from minus 6.5 degrees Celsius the previous night, the officials said.
It was the coldest recorded place in the valley.
Qazigund the gateway town to the valley recorded the minimum of minus 5 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara in the north registered a low of minus 4.8 degrees Celsius and Kokernag, in the south, minus 4.9 degrees Celsius, the officials said.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
The chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall, the officials said.
While ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — which began on December 21 — will end on January 31, the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).

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