Rains lash Kashmir, mercury dips

Kashmir Sunday received moderate rainfall causing a sharp dip in temperatures even as the Meteorological Department predicted an “overall improvement in weather” from Monday though isolated afternoon thundershowers shall continue for some days.

MeT officials said that many places in J&K received moderate rainfall while it was “generally cloudy” in Ladakh.

As per MeT data, till 5:30 pm on Sunday the summer capital Srinagar received a rainfall of 6.7 millimetres, Qazigund 2.3 mm, Pahalgam 2.4 mm, Kupwara 10 mm and Kokernag 2.4 mm.

Ski-resort Gulmarg received a heavy rainfall of 17.6 mm. The rainfall along the 270-kilometer Srinagar-Jammu National Highway led to disruption in traffic. While Banihal recorded 4.2 mm rainfall, Batote received 0.2 mm rainfall.

Temperatures:

The rainfall led to a drop in temperature as summer capital Srinagar recorded 16.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday, which was several notches below the normal temperature, MeT officials said. The drop in temperature was witnessed after Kashmir had seen a sharp increase in day temperatures during last few days. On March 27, Srinagar had recorded season’s highest temperature so far at 31.7 degrees. Ski-resort Gulmarg also witnessed a sharp decrease in temperature recording 8.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday. Night temperature at Gulmarg also witnessed a dip and recorded 5.6 degrees during Saturday night.

Forecast:

While Meteorological Department has predicted weather to witness improvement from Monday. However, the “isolated afternoon rainfall in form of thundershowers will continue till Wednesday”.

MeT officials said isolated thunderstorms, lightening and gusty winds will continue for next three days in Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking with Greater Kashmir, Deputy Director MeT, Mukhtar Ahmad said that active western disturbance, which causes a change in weather, was likely to end on Sunday and weather will improve from Monday.

“Weather is expected to witness a significant improvement from Monday but isolated thundershowers along with gusty winds of the speed of 30-40 kilometers per hour (kmph) will continue to occur till June 3,” Ahmad said.

Highway:

The heavy rainfall triggered shooting stones at some places along the 270-kilometre Srinagar-Jammu National Highway causing disruption in movement of traffic.

Traffic officials told Greater Kashmir that the landslides at Cafeteria Morh caused disruption in movement of traffic. “Shooting stones are hampering the traffic movement but after remaining closed for a couple of hours, the road was soon restored for the stranded vehicles to move,” Deputy Superintendent of Traffic (Highway), Ajay Anand told Greater Kashmir.

Meanwhile, only vehicles carrying essential items would be allowed on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway depending on weather conditions and status of the road on Friday, officials said.

The Mughal Road connecting Shopian district with Pir Panchal remains closed due to accumulation of snow, officials said.

Traffic advisory:

A traffic advisory issued by Traffic Police department said subject to fair weather and road conditions, only vehicles carrying essential commodities will be allowed to move on the Srinagar-Jammu National highway on Monday. Frequent closure of the highway has choked supplies to the Valley causing inconvenience to people already reeling under the prevailing situation owing to Covid-19.

The routine passenger traffic on the highway has been off the roads for last several weeks due to lockdown owing to Covid-19. However, buses carrying travellers who have completed their quarantine at Lakhanpur and those with special movement passes have been travelling on the highway.