Chillai Kalan blankets Kashmir in fog

Srinagar, Dec 26: Kashmir continued to be shrouded in dense fog for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, accompanied by a severe cold wave that has seen night temperatures plummet across the valley.

The thick blanket of fog persisted in most parts of Kashmir, significantly reducing visibility and causing inconvenience to commuters.

The Meteorological Department officials in Srinagar said that the city recorded a low of minus 3 degrees Celsius, marking a drop from the previous night’s minus 2.3 degrees Celsius.

This temperature was 1 degree Celsius below the seasonal average for the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

Gulmarg ski resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.6 degrees Celsius, slightly higher than the previous night’s minus 3 degrees Celsius, registering a temperature of 3.4 degrees Celsius above normal for this time of year.

Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir, recorded a minimum temperature of minus 3 degrees Celsius, marking a 1-degree Celsius deviation below the seasonal average.

Pahalgam, the famed south Kashmir resort, witnessed a low of minus 4.7 degrees Celsius, showing a marginal increase from the previous night’s minus 4.3 degrees Celsius, and was 0.3 degrees Celsius above the normal temperature.

Kokernag recorded a minimum of minus 2 degrees Celsius, just above the previous night’s minus 1.6 degrees Celsius, with the temperature exceeding the normal by 0.1 degrees Celsius.

In north Kashmir’s Kupwara town, the mercury dropped to minus 3.5 degrees Celsius, slightly below the previous night’s minus 2.7 degrees Celsius, registering a 0.4 degrees Celsius deviation below the seasonal average.

Jammu, the winter capital of J&K, recorded a minimum temperature of 7.4 degrees Celsius, showing a slight decrease from the previous night’s 7.3 degrees Celsius and staying 0.8 degrees Celsius below the seasonal norm.

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Other regions in the state including Banihal, Batote, and Bhaderwah, experienced varying low temperatures of 1.2 degrees Celsius, 5.1 degrees Celsius, and 2.8 degrees Celsius.

Kashmir is currently in the grip of Chillai Kalan, a 40-day harsh winter period.

Although this phase concludes on January 29, winter persists with Chillai Khurd (20 days) and Chillai Bachha (10 days) following suit, lasting until February 28.

The MeT officials said that the weather is anticipated to remain generally dry for the time being.

Cloudy conditions with the possibility of light snow over isolated higher reaches are expected on December 27.

Dry weather is likely to prevail from December 28 to 31, with no significant weather activity expected until the end of December.

From January 1-3, the weather is predicted to be generally cloudy, accompanied by the chance of light rain and snow at scattered places.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY

The Traffic Control Room in Kashmir has released a comprehensive advisory aimed at ensuring road safety during dense fog.

Stay Within Your Lane

Reduced visibility is a direct consequence of fog. It is crucial to keep the vehicle within its lane at all times.

Staying within the lane minimises the risk of veering off the road or colliding with another vehicle.

Lane markers serve as a helpful guide in these situations, along with being vigilant about oncoming traffic.

On single-lane roads, it is advisable to drive on the left side to mitigate the risk of collisions.

Park and Wait

In cases of zero visibility, drivers are urged to err on the side of caution and pull their vehicles off the road.

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Find a secure spot to park and turn on both parking and hazard lights.

Waiting until visibility improves is a safer alternative than attempting to navigate through dense fog.

Avoid Speeding

Speeding is strongly discouraged, especially under poor visibility conditions.

Driving at high speeds increases the challenge of reacting quickly and accurately to assess the surroundings.

Maintaining a relatively slow pace enables a timely response, better judgment of traffic, and the ability to stop the vehicle if necessary.

Use Beam Headlights

High-beam headlights are a common practice in foggy conditions but can hinder visibility as the light reflects.

When road visibility is below 100 meters, it is recommended to use low-beam headlights.

If equipped, fog lamps should be turned on for enhanced visibility.

Indicate to Alert Others

Responsible driving includes alerting other vehicles on the road during foggy conditions.

Use indicators or parking lights, especially when taking turns, ensuring vehicles behind have sufficient time to adjust.

Maintain Clean Windshields and Windows

Cleanliness plays a crucial role in safety. Stain-free windshields and windows enhance visibility.

Utilise defogger or defroster knobs to keep the windshield clear, ensuring a clear view of the surroundings.

Adjust Driver’s Seat Position

Adjust the driver’s seat to improve road visibility.

Vehicles with adjustable driver’s seat height have an advantage in maximizing the road view.

Without height adjustment, keeping the seat back straight provides an unobstructed view beyond the car bonnet.

Focus on the Road

Concentration is paramount. Drivers should maintain focus on the road at all times to avoid potential hazards.

For driving on foggy roads during nighttime, chewing gum can aid in staying awake and focused.

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Ensure Brakes and Tires are in Optimal Condition

Maintain the car’s reflex by ensuring brakes and tires are in excellent condition.

Good brake and tire condition reduces the braking distance, crucial in foggy conditions.

Avoid Overtaking

Overtaking during foggy conditions is discouraged as it may distract the driver of the other vehicle, leading to potential collisions.

Patience is key in safely reaching your destination.

By following these driving tips, individuals can contribute to making road travel safer during dense fog, and promoting responsible and cautious driving practices.¯

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