Jammu and Kashmir received 188.4 millimeter precipitation during October and November this year making it 171 percent higher than normal.
According to MeT Department data, during the two months, summer capital Srinagar recorded 227.7 mm rain and snowfall. This is 685 percent above normal precipitation. The second wettest district was Pulwama with 618 per cent above normal precipitation recorded. Similarly, Kulgam received excess rainfall of 587 percent, Baramulla 544 per cent, Anantnag 504 percent, Budgam 471 percent and Bandipora 341 percent above normal precipitation recorded in November this year. Rajouri with 409 per cent and Reasi with 358 percent above normal precipitation were the wettest districts in Jammu division.
“Interaction of cold winds blowing southwards from polar region with the western disturbances led to very heavy precipitation in form of recent snowfall across Kashmir. The scenario is likely to prolong during current winter season,” MeT officials told Greater Kashmir.
This year Kashmir received its heaviest November snow recorded during the past four decades.
Snowfall records of past four decades maintained by the Meteorological Department reveal that 96 millimeter equivalent snowfall was recorded between 6 and 7 November 2019 in Srinagar is the heaviest ever 24-hour snowfall recorded in month of November since 1980. This has led to some of the most intense cold days across the Valley so far. “Almost every western disturbance that passed led to heavy rainfall or snowfall in the Valley during November,” said the MeT official.
The presence of cyclone ‘Maha’ during early November in the Arabian sea and the wind interaction with the western disturbances, resulted in untimely snowfall on 7 November. However, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that northern parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir will witness a ‘normal winter’ as minimum temperatures will remain within normal range.
The IMD in its winter forecast issued on Friday said: “Seasonal temperature outlook during December, 2019 to February, 2020.”
While Gulmarg had measured 4.5 feet of snow on 7 November, the plains as per MeT data received 1-2 feet of snow on this day. “There were only two days when major snowfall was witnessed, but it surpassed the monthly average snowfall,” the MeT officials said.
This year the normal precipitation was surpassed within only two major snowfalls. According to data, snowfall which generally should have occurred over a span of almost one month was surpassed in two snowfalls only. The 7 November snowfall, followed by inclement weather had caused multiple landslides on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway resulting in frequent closure of the road, the only all-weather road, connecting the Valley to rest of the world remained closed for traffic for 13 days in November.
In addition, the untimely snowfall caused cancellation of more than 65 flights from Srinagar International Airport in November month. The heavy snowfall also wreaked havoc on the Rs 8000 crore horticulture sector with initial government estimates suggesting Rs 2500 crore losses suffered to the apple industry due to untimely snow.