Kashmir Valley receives season's first snowfall

Kashmir Valley receives season's first snowfall

"It is snowing in Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Qazigund areas of the Valley. In Gulmarg, three inches of snow have accumulated since morning," weather department officials said.

This is the first snowfall of the season in Kashmir and has come at least a month earlier than expected. "There have been occasions when snowfall has taken place in October but it is a rare occurrence," the officials said.

They said it was also snowing at Zojilla and Gumri on the Srinagar-Leh National highway, forcing the authorities to stop the movement of vehicles to Ladakh region as a precautionary measure.

All the vehicles heading to Kargil and Leh have been stopped at Kangan, 40 kms from here, in Ganderbal district, the officials said. However, traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only road link between the Valley and rest of the country, was moving smoothly at the moment.

Elsewhere, heavy rains have lashed the plains of Kashmir, including Srinagar, where the downpour has resulted in overflowing drains in many places. An official of the meteorological department said that 37.2 millimetres of rainfall was recorded till 8.30 AM.

Kokernag tourist resort in south Kashmir has recorded the highest rainfall so far at 46.6 mm followed by Pahalgam and Qazigund areas at 38.2 mm each. The snowfall and rains have brought down the mercury with Srinagar recording a minimum temperature of 3.6 degrees Celsius against 9.1 degrees a night earlier.

However, MET official said last night's temperature was only one degree below normal for this time of the year. Qazigund and surrounding areas are witnessing temperatures close to freezing point with the night temperature recorded at 0.5 degrees Celsius.

Highway towns of Banihal, Batote and Katra have also been lashed by moderate to heavy rains. Moderate rains have also been recorded in Jammu. The night temperature of 15.7 degrees recorded there is three degrees below normal.