The winds blowing from the Mediterranean Sea and their interaction with Maha Cyclone brought the first snowfall of the season in higher reaches of Kashmir on Wednesday, bringing down the temperature across the Himalayan Valley.
From early morning, rains lashed most parts of the Valley, including Srinagar and Kupwara, while moderate snowfall was witnessed at Ganderbal district’s Sonamarg and the ski resort of Gulmarg in Baramulla district, officials at the local meteorological (MeT) centre said. Ladakh’s Drass also received a moderate spell.
“We have received the first snowfall of the season. In Kupwara, there was 50mm of precipitation while 4 inch of snow was recorded in Gulmarg and 2 inch in Drass,” said MeT deputy director Mukhtar Ahmad.
This was the first snowfall in the inhabited areas of the valley
Tourists enjoying the sleigh ride during the first snowfall of the season in Gulmarg on Wednesday.
The Mughal Road, connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with South Kashmir’s Shopian district, was closed for vehicular traffic after snowfall in the high altitude areas, officials said.
There was snowfall in high altitude areas, including Pir Ki Gali, on Tuesday due to which the road was closed for vehicular traffic as a precautionary measure, the officials said.
The upper reaches of Kashmir received fresh snowfall while rains lashed plains bringing the mercury down in the valley. (Photo by Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)
Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo
SMOOTH OPERATION ALONG HIGHWAY: OFFICIAL
They said commuters had been directed to avoid travel along the road to avoid any untoward incident. Meanwhile, the officials said traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was going on smoothly despite rains.
Light motor vehicles are moving from both sides on nearly 300-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, while heavy vehicles were allowed to move during evening timing from Jammu to Srinagar.
Men look out from a shop during the first snowfall of the season in Sonamarg, some 90 kilometers from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.
Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo
The movement of heavy vehicles was restricted to one-way owing to overall condition of the road, especially between Jawahar Tunnel and Ramban, coupled with narrow width of the highway at some places owing to the ongoing widening and upgrading work.
The weather system is likely to cause temporary disruptions on surface transportation especially over passes like Zojila, Srinagar- Jammu and Leh-Manali highways and Mughal roads due to landslides, low temperature and heavy snowfall, officials said.
Kashmir mostly owes its precipitation to winds blowing from Mediterranean Sea, locally know as ‘western disturbance’.
A man walks on a snow-covered road during the first snowfall of the season in Gulmarg on Wednesday.
The downpour brought down the overall temperatures across the region, prompting people to bring out their woollens and heating gadgets. The day temperature in Srinagar was around 11-12°C as against average of 18 degrees in this time of the year.
SNOW PREDICTED TILL FRIDAY
The weatherman has predicted widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rains in the hills and plains of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh union territories for three days starting from Wednesday. “From Friday, the weather will be fine for over a week,” Ahmad said.
By late afternoon, some occasional tourists and residents were seen enjoying the snow at central Kashmir’s snow resort of Sonamarg in Ganderbal district.
“Heavy snowfall has started here. It is after a year that we are seeing snow. Some occasional tourists were also enjoying,” said Abdul Hameed, a resident.
Last year on November 2, Srinagar received the snowfall in the month of November after a period of nine years. Last time the city had witnessed snowfall in the month of November was in 2009.
A horse during the first snowfall of the season in Sonamarg, some 90 kilometers from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday, November 06, 2019.
Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo
The Valley also experienced mild rains and snow in first half of December last year. January has mostly remained wet this year in Jammu and Kashmir with six spells of snow, though the quantum of precipitation has not been unusual.
The state was affected by one of the longest weather systems in January, blocking the 295-km Srinagar-Jammu highway for a week and disrupting air traffic.
(With agency inputs)