Kashmir is witnessing the longest dry spell of the past decade causing respiratory ailments and forest fires across Kashmir. And, as per the meteorological department there seems no immediate respite at least for a week.
With no rainfall or snow witnessed in most parts of Kashmir from mid August, this has been the longest dry spell of the decade.
An officials of local MeT department told Greater Kashmir that continued dry spell since mid August completed four months before plains received rains and higher reaches got snow on December 10, making it one of the longest dry spells in Kashmir in the past decade.
"We can say that it is the biggest dry spell that Kashmir has witnessed in a decade. Every year, we witness a few months of dry weather, but this year it has persisted for a longer time," said the official.
According to official data, Kashmir had witnessed a long dry spell in 2007, but that had lasted only for three months.
The data further reveals that in 2007, no rainfall was recorded for consecutive three months; October, November and December. However, in 2016, the dry spell entered into the fourth month.
In July and August, this year, 31mm and 16mm rainfall was recorded respectively and since then the dry spell continues.
The dry spell had resulted in various ailments including cough and fever in Kashmir. The presence of intense fog had disrupted air traffic at Srinagar International Airport several times, with most of the flights getting cancelled.
Meanwhile, Srinagar Friday recorded maximum temperature 9.2 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius while Pahalgam recorded minus 6.2 degrees Celsius and Gulmarg minus 4.8 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He informed that Kargil recorded the maximum temperature minus 3.4 degree Celsius and minimum temperature minus 9.4 degrees Celsius.
A forest official told Greater Kashmir that the dry spell caused frequent forest fires.
He added that Jammu witnessed the season's coldest night so far as the minimum temperature dropped to 6.5 degrees Celsius while Leh recorded minus 13.2 degrees Celsius, the lowest temperature this season so far in Leh.
"The dry spell would continue till next week. However, light rainfall may occur at isolated places on higher reaches within next 24 hours," said an official.
In December, the mean number of rainy days in Kashmir is 3.5 while mean maximum temperature is 8.8 degree Celsius and mean minimum temperature is minus 1.6 degree Celsius.
The official data reveals that highest maximum temperature recorded in December is 16.6 degree Celsius, recorded in 2009 and lowest minimum temperature minus 7.2 degree Celsius recorded in 2007.
Reports from Jammu said that the spell will end soon.