Hailstorm, heavy rains destroy fruit crop in north Kashmir

A strong hailstorm in north Kashmir parts Friday damaged standing crops and fruit orchards even as afternoon thundershowers lashed parts of the Valley. The Meteorological Department in its forecast said that “isolated to scattered thundershowers in the Valley will continue for the next 3 to 4 days”.

Speaking with the Greater Kashmir, Director MeT, Sonam Lotus said the inclement conditions will continue till May 24 and after that there are “some chances of improvement in the weather”.

“Weather conditions are likely to improve on Saturday morning but there are chances of another spell of rain accompanied by thunderstorm, lightning and hailstorm at isolated places in the Valley in the evening till Sunday morning,” Lotus said. He said that there was a possibility of “widespread rains on May 23 and 24 after which the current weather cycle is expected to witness improvement till the first week of June”.

As per Meteorological Department data, summer capital Srinagar recorded more than 10 millimetre rainfall during the last two days Qazigund 16 mm, Pahalgam 6 mm, Kupwara 2 mm, Kokernag 12 mm, Gulmarg 21 mm, Batote 23 mm and Banihal 13 mm during Thursday and Friday.

Although a warm sunshine greeted the Valley on Friday but parts of Kashmir including Srinagar received evening thundershowers which continued till late night.  Srinagar on Friday recorded 22.6 degrees Celsius maximum temperature while popular ski-resort Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded 11.2 degrees Celsius, making it the lowest recorded temperature at any weather station in the Valley.

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall accompanied by hailstorm lashed several villages of Rafiabad in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday evening causing widespread damage to apple orchards and standing crops.

Apple orchards and standing crops of various areas in upper and lower belt of Rafiabad got affected due to heavy rains followed by hailstorm incurring losses worth lakhs of rupees to the fruit industry including farmers, locals informed. Rains and hailstorm which lasted for 15 minutes resulted in heavy loss to the standing crops and early variety of fruit in Rafiabad villages. President fruit growers’ and dealers’ association, fruit mandi, Sopore, Fayaz Ahmad Malik has urged Jammu and Kashmir administration to compensate the farmers whose crops and orchards were damaged due to the inclement weather during last one month.

It may be mentioned that a strong hailstorm that lasted for several minutes last Friday afternoon wreaked havoc in villages of  Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district by causing damage to apple orchards. Earlier this month, a hailstorm which lasted for around 15 to 20 minutes had spelt doom for apple, cherry, apricot and peach fruits in scores of villages in Shopian and Kulgam districts. In Shopian, villages including Kanjiullar, Check Kachdora, Vehil, Wangam bore the brunt of hailstorm while Nehama, Lakhdipora, Bathipora and Chugalpora were worst affected in Kulgam. (With inputs from Ghulam Muhammad in Sopore)

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