Kashmir is currently experiencing ‘Chillai Kalan’, a 40-day period of harsh weather with a high likelihood and frequency of snowfall.
One laborer was killed and another is missing after a heavy snow avalanche was reported in the popular hill station of Sonamarg in Jammu and Kashmir today, a video of which has been widely circulated online.
The avalanche was reportedly filmed near the Baltal area in Sonamarg, which is located in the Ganderbal district in central Kashmir.
After launching a rescue operation, a construction company discovered that two of its workers were missing. A body was later found and identified as Sandeep, a resident of Kishtwar.
Another laborer is buried under the snow and there are slim chances of his survival. The avalanche has also blocked the Sind river flow.
According to reports, two other avalanches were reported in the area and there were no casualties.
Fresh snowfall in the higher reaches of the valley has pushed the night temperature above the freezing point across Kashmir.
While temperatures in Srinagar have been around 3 degrees Celsius, Qazigund, the gateway to the Valley, has registered a minimum of 1.6 degrees Celsius.
The tourist resort town of Pahalgam in the Anantnag district, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, registered a low of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius – up from minus 3.2 degrees.
The minimum temperature in Gulmarg in Baramulla district was at minus 3 degrees Celsius, news agency PTI reported.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest weather period when the chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent.
It is considered the harshest weather period in the region and temperatures can drop to below freezing. It is a challenging time for residents as well as travelers, as it can make transportation and daily activities difficult.
Chillai Kalan begins on December 21 and ends on January 30. The cold wave continues even after that with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold) following it.