Valley witnesses light snowfall, enters coldest phase of winter

With the coldest period of Kashmir winter ‘chillai kalan’ setting in Saturday, the upper reaches of the Valley including tourist resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam received light snowfall Friday night.

A Met department official said the ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir received 1.2 cm snowfall and Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir received snowfall of 1.6 cm on Thursday night.

However, there were no signs of rain or snowfall on the plains of Kashmir.

In the first phase of the 40-day-long chilly period, the valley received heavy snowfall. But the snow graph is decreasing fast with experts attributing the change to interference in Kashmir’s environment.

There is no forecast for snowfall or rainfall for the next 24 hours, and in the absence of Western Disturbances hitting the region, the dry weather will continue, a Met official said.The conditions are likely to result in further dip in temperature.

Western Disturbances, a phenomenon resulting in rain or snowfall in the region, originates in the Caspian Sea and enters Kashmir through Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Until the phenomenon happens we can’t expect a change in weather and the temperature will not improve,” the official said.

For a month now Kashmir is in the grip of cold wave conditions with minimum temperature fluctuating from two degree to four degree below normal. A thin layer of ice forming on the surface of water bodies and freezing of taps have been a common phenomenon these days.

It has not only resulted in cold related diseases among children and elderly persons but has been a growing concern for farmers who apprehend a tough season in agriculture and horticulture sectors ahead.

The other main towns of the valley have also been seeing an unusually cold winter as night temperature has stayed below freezing point for most of December, the month that saw snowfall in the past.

Snowfall around the start of ‘chillai kalan’ would provide relief from intense cold but the phenomena has not occurred this time. Around this time in 2012 Kashmir calley saw snowfall. The open sky with no cloud cover has made conditions worse as it reduces chances of a downpour.

Traffic woes

Trains didn't reach their destinations on time in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, as fog played spoilsport. 

In Rajasthan's Jaipur-Bandikui, Rewari and Jodhpur rail sections, few trains got delayed, an NWR spokesperson said. Vehicular movement also slowed on Rajasthan's highways. 

Railway traffic was also hit at Chandigarh railway station with several trains running late because of fog. Among other trains, Shatabdi (New Delhi-Kalka) was running late by nearly an hour, Himalayan Queen was delayed by 1.15 hours and Lucknow-Chandigarh Superfast was late by over three hours, official sources said here.

However, there was no diversion of flight to Sanganer (Jaipur) airport here as the weather was reported to be clear in Delhi, airport sources said. It was all because of further dipping of mercury levels in parts of Rajasthan, making Erinpura area near Jawai Dam in Pali the coldest place in the state, other than the desert state's sole hill station, Mount Abu.

Erinpura's minimum temperature on Friday was five degrees Celsius while on Thursday, it had a low of six deg C. Abu recorded a minimum temperature of 2.4 degrees Celsius, according to the MeT office.

Comments (+)