Kashmir braces for seasons first snowfall
Downpour likely to hit surface transport
Jammu/Srinagar: The weather department on Tuesday predicted widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rains in the hills and plains of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh union territories for three days starting from Wednesday.
The weather system is likely to cause temporary disruptions on surface transport especially over passes like Zojila, Srinagar-Jammu, Leh-Manali Highway, Mughal Road due to landslides, low temperature and heavy snowfall.
“There is an active Western Disturbance. Its interaction with Cyclone MAHA (currently lying over East central Arabian sea) is most likely to cause widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rain in plains of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh during 6th to 8th November”, Director, State Met department, Sonam Lotus said.
A Met department official said that a WD, which originated in Arabia sea and is approaching the region, could result in heavy snowfall in the upper reaches and rain in the plains.
The WD, which will hit both the UTs through Afghanistan and Pakistan on Tuesday, will remain active from November 6 to 8.
This could affect traffic movement on national highway Srinagar-Jammu, Srinagar-Leh and historic Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region.
He said scattered light rain, snow and thundershowers would occur during the next 24 hours in the valley.
“A weather warning has been issued for Wednesday and Thursday during which isolated heavy rain and snow and widespread moderate to heavy rain would occur in the valley,” he said.
After witnessing above normal night temperature, people woke up to a chilly Tuesday morning in the summer capital, Srinagar. As the day progressed, sun came out though the intensity of the heat was very less due to ice cold winds. People could be seen wearing warm cloths, including jackets and sweaters, to evade chilly weather in Srinagar, where maximum and minimum temperature will be around 10 degree and six degree on Wednesday. “Moderate rain and snow could occur in the city during the next 24 hours,” he added.
Chilly weather conditions also intensified in the world famous ski resort of Gulmarg, where top floor of a famous hotel was damaged in a fire incident on Sunday. The night temperature in Gulmarg dipped and settled at minus 0.5 degree on Monday. “About 12000 tourists, including 600 foreigners, arrived in the ski resort after the government withdrew travel advisory in August,” a Tourism official said.
The night temperature on Monday in world famous tourist resort of Pahalgam, about 100 km from here in south Kashmir, dipped and settled at minus 0.7 degree.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan on Monday chaired a meeting of officers to review the position of winter stocks of food grains and other essential commodities in Ladakh and Kashmir division.
Besides, Deputy Commissioner Leh and officials of District Administration, Kargil attended the meeting through video conferencing.
Directing officials to ensure adequate stocks of commodities, the division commissioner said people in these areas should not face any difficulty during winter months.
The meeting was informed that all essential commodities for winter including food grains, fire wood, LPG, medicine and other items have been stocked.
Meanwhile, the downpour could help bring pollution down in neighbouring states.
“The snowfall accompanied by winds will bring down the particulate matters in the air to great extend,” Sonam Lotus, Director of the J&K MeT department said.
Lotus said early snowfall in happening for the second year in succession in Kashmir. “It’s good for agriculture, but could damage standing crops,” he said.
Last year also, Kashmir witnessed snowfall in November. Normally, snowfall begins after November on the upper reaches of Kashmir. The 40-day peak winter season called ‘Chila-e-Kalan’ begins from December 20. Snowfall during the period last longer and is a major source for drinking water in summers.
The lack of adequate snowfall causes shortage of drinking water in Kashmir in some areas, especially those that are not connected to the drinking water system. (with PTI inputs)