Srinagar, Dec 27 (IANS) The Kashmir Valley and the Ladak region continued to freeze Monday with Leh recording a minimum temperature of minus 15.3 degrees Celsius while Srinagar shivered at minus 6.6, the coldest so far this season.
'The minimum temperature recorded in Srinagar today (Monday) was minus 6.6 degrees. The lowest ever recorded in the month of December has been minus 12.6 degrees on Dec 13, 1964,' said Sonam Lotus, director of the local weather office here.
'The minimum temperature was minus 15.2 in Leh and in Kargil it was minus 11 degrees.'
'In Pahalgam hill station, the minimum dropped to minus 7 degrees. Gulmarg also recorded a minimum temperature of minus 7 degrees,' the official added.
Most Srinagar residents preferred to stay indoors and the roads and markets looked deserted in the morning.
The Dal Lake has remained frozen for the last four days and Monday's record sub-zero temperature is likely to intensify the freeze.
'My shikara (boat) could simply not move in the morning. It would damage the boat if I tried any harder to fight the freeze. Probably by midday it might be possible to make some movement in the lake,' said Shaban, a 34-year-old Shikara owner.
The weather office has forecast clear night skies in the coming days that could see a further drop in the minimum temperature.
'A western disturbance at present passing over Iran is likely to arrive here by December 29 evening.
'We are expecting rain or snow between December 29 and December 31,' said M.S. Wani, assistant meteorologist at the weather office here.
The biting cold has forced authorities to consider shutting down winter schooling, which was started to make up for classes lost due to the unrest in the valley in the summer months.