The higher reaches of Kashmir on Friday received a fresh spell of snowfall while rains lashed the plains. A forecast issued by the Meteorological Department said, “as predicted earlier, moderate rains in plains and snow over higher reaches of J&K and Kargil are most likely to continue between Friday night and Saturday.”
“Some places especially Zojila, Gulmarg, Zanskar, etc. are most likely to receive heavy snowfall,” Director MeT, Sonam Lotus said in the weather forecast. He said that after the present wet spell, “there is no forecast for any snowfall till December 20.”
MeT officials said it started snowing in Gulmarg, Sonamarg and other higher reaches in the evening. It started raining in Srinagar during evening and the summer capital recorded almost 3 millimetres of rainfall till night.
As per MeT data, Qazigund recorded 3.2 mm, Pahalgam 2.4mm, Kupwara 0.6 mm, Kokernag 4.3 mm and Gulmarg 0.2 mm rainfall on Friday between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm.
The rainfall has lead to a drop in temperatures. Srinagar on Friday recorded 10.1 degrees Celsius maximum temperature while ski-resort Gulmarg recorded 0.6 degrees Celsius day temperature. The higher reaches of the Valley had last week also received a spell of snowfall while on November 14, 15 these areas had received 2 to 3 feet of snowfall affecting daily life. Snowfall in Gulmarg has been attracting tourists in large numbers.
At minus 11.9 and minus 5.2 degree Celsius as the night’s lowest temperatures on Thursday respectively, Leh town and Gulmarg were the coldest places. The 40-day long period of harsh winter known locally as the ‘Chillai Kalan’ starts on December 21 and will end on January 30. While the night temperatures drop several notches below the freezing point during this period, the day temperatures also hover around 7 degrees.
Avalanche warning issued:
In view of the MeT forecast for heavy snowfall in the higher reaches, the Disaster Management Authority of Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday issued a “medium danger (yellow alert) avalanche warning” for higher reaches of Ramban, Anantnag, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora and Ganderbal districts. The authority has also issued a “low level avalanche warning” for upper reaches of Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar, Kulgam and Kargil districts.
Mughal Road, Leh Highway closed for 3rd day:
The Srinagar-Leh National Highway continued to remain closed for the third consecutive day due to accumulation of snow, Traffic officials said. The authorities pressed men and machinery to clear the snow and a major stretch on the road was made travel-worthy. However, fresh snowfall hampered the road clearance and blocked the highway. Meanwhile, the Mughal Road connecting the Valley with the Pir Panchal region also remained closed for the third straight day due to accumulation of snow, officials said.