Summer ends, Gloomy winter knocks on door

summer-ends-gloomy-winter-knocks-on-doorThe sprawling civil secretariat in Srinagar, headquarters of the state government in the summer capital, is shut and the bureaucracy has been moved to warmer Jammu, the winter capital, for the next six months. It is, officially, winter in Kashmir.
As the region moves past a violent summer, consumed by the lengthiest spell of shutdowns and almost daily protests since July 8, the Kashmir valley is heading for a gloomy winter.
The state administration has started taking stock of essential supplies required in the winter months, which have witnessed erratic weather phenomena, including snowstorms and avalanches, in recent years.
This weekend, the sky remained overcast and the air carried a pinch of cold as mercury hovered close to freezing point in most parts of the region overnight.
In south Kashmir’s Pahalgam meadow resort, the temperature had already begun to drop below the zero degree mark, recording a low of minus 3.0 degree Celsius one night.
Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director, Meteorological Centre, Srinagar, said there were chances of rain at isolated locations due to gathering of a western disturbance over the Kashmir valley.
“We have not concluded the long-term assessment, but this time, the western disturbance pattern will follow the normal trend,” he said.
The forecast for the upcoming week states that the minimum temperature in Srinagar will hover between two and three degrees above freezing point.
The mercury in Pahalgam and the frontier Kupwara district of north Kashmir will plunge below freezing levels, according to the seven-day forecast issued by the Meteorological Department.
November opens the door to a long winter in Kashmir, lasting till March when spring begins. Mean minimum temperature in Srinagar for this month over the past century had been recorded at 0.3 degree Celsius.
The winter in the region will mark the end of a furious and raging summer, marked by an unprecedented unrest sparked by the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
The unrest, continuing with reduced intensity, left more than 80 dead and several thousand injured, leaving a gloomy preface for winter.
The arrival of winter has coincided with a raging debate on education as the state government insists on holding examinations for thousands of students later this month while opposition parties and separatists demand postponement.
The winter’s coming, also marked by shortening of days, has come as a surprise for many residents, who spent this summer locked inside their homes and had few memories of the retreating summer.
Umar Ahmad, a state government employee who spent much of the summer at home due to shutdowns and curfews, said, “It seems that there has been no summer. I don’t know when the green leaves turned red. It was spring and now it is winter,” he said.