Kashmir’s famous Dal Lake froze on Thursday as a severe cold wave in the valley continued with Srinagar recording the coldest night in 30 years. Srinagar recorded a low of minus 8.4 degree Celsius, the coldest temperature recorded in the city since 1991 when the mercury had plunged to minus 11.8 degree Celsius, officials in the weather department said. In 1995, the minimum temperature was minus 11.3 degree Celsius.
According to the weather office, the lowest recorded minimum temperate in Srinagar was minus 14.4 degrees Celsius in 1893. The rest of the valley is reeling under intense cold. Pahalgam, which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a minimum temperature of minus 11.1 degree Celsius – up from the previous night’s minus 11.7 degree Celsius. In the tourist resort of Gulmarg, the minimum temperature settled at minus 7 degrees Celsius compared to minus 10 degree Celsius the night earlier. People, particularly youth and children attempt to walk on the frozen water bodies including Dal Lake, but this could be life-threatening. Moving on this thin layer of ice, particularly Dal Lake, is very risky and results in slips, falls, fractures, and fatal injuries. When the thickness of the ice is less than 4 inches, it is very unsafe to walk or play and the ice can break, resulting in drowning.
Meanwhile, District Magistrate Shahid Choudhary has issued an advisory to dissuade people from walking, playing, or moving on frozen Dal Lake as it is unsafe, dangerous, and potentially life-threatening. Action will be initiated against anyone trying to violate these instructions, he said.