Higher reaches across Kashmir receive snow, plains witness rains
After more than a week of dry and extreme cold conditions, mountains in Kashmir received mild snowfall while certain areas were also lashed with rains on Sunday in the beginning of a week-long intermittent precipitation predicted by the meteorological department.
The MeT department said that Pahalgam in south Kashmir and Kupwara in north Kashmir witnessed rains. “Rains have started in Pahalgam and Kupwara while moderate snowfall is expected during the night, even in Srinagar,” said meteorologist Mohammad Hussain Mir.
Srinagar’s prominent weather spotter Faizan Arif said snow has been witnessed in Sonamarg, Gulmarg besides Karnah and Machil in the frontier district of Kupwara. “Machil in Kupwara records 4-6 inches of snow. Currently snowing moderately in the area,” he said.
Gulmarg has been witnessing light snowflakes since the afternoon. “It has just started snowing here. We expect heavy snowfall during the night,” said a resident, Altaf Ahmad. Almost all the weather stations in Kashmir witnessed improvement in night temperatures owing to cloudy weather with Srinagar recording minus 0.1 degree Celsius. The mercury dropped to minus 3.4 degrees in Gulmarg.
Mir said they expect moderate widespread snowfall on Sunday night and from January 12 to 13. “Light to moderate snowfall over Kashmir and Pir Panjal region in Jammu division is likely while plains there will be dry,” he said.
MeT director Sonam Lotus said moderate snowfall was very likely at many places over higher reaches from the evening with main activity in the night. “ On January 12 and 13, widespread moderate snowfall and rainfall in plains of Jammu with chances of isolated heavy snowfall over higher reaches is expected,” he added.
The precipitation will affect the surface as well as air transport in the Himalayan region. “The weather is very likely to affect surface transportation during January 8 (night) and January 9 (60% chance) and air transportation on January 12 and 13 (60-70% chance),” Lotus said.
Kashmir’s under the grip of harshest period of its winter which pans out in three stages, starting with the 40-day intense period from December 21(Chillai Kalan) followed by 20 more days that are less intense (Chillai Khurd), and finally 10 days of mild cold (Chille Bache).
The months of November and December for the major part were dry, recording below average rainfall or snowfall in Kashmir this year, the MeT said. However, the rainfall during this year’s monsoon was normal after two years of deficit with Kashmir valley receiving 270mm average rainfall from June 1 to September 29, an increase of 6% than the normal of 254 mm. Similarly, Jammu division experienced 886mm average rainfall in the four monsoon months, an increase of 7% than the normal 826 mm.