Kashmir Snowed, Reprieve From Dry Spell29 January 2010
Srinagar: Kashmir Valley witnessed moderate to heavy snowfall on Friday, last day of Chillai Kalan (harshest period in winter), ending nearly a month long dry spell. Snowfall brought much needed respite as Valleyties were praying for it. Maximum 1.5 feet of snow was recorded in Gurez and Sadna top in frontier district of Kupwara. Pahalgam and Daksum Wailu in south Kashmir recorded around one feet snow. The fresh snowfall brought cheers on the faces of the tourists present in the famous health resort of Gulmarg. Summer capital Srinagar recorded 12.5mm of rain and snowfall since morning. Shopian town recorded three to four inches of snow while Hirpora and Sedaw recorded 13 to 15 inches of snow. The snowfall led to the sharp decline in temperature across the Valley. According to the Meteorological department the maximum temperature fell from 14.4 degrees Celsius to 5.5 degrees on Friday. A MeT official told Greater Kashmir the Western Disturbances were responsible for the precipitation. “These are likely to retrieve before morning and weather will remain dry from tomorrow onwards. Another Western Disturbance is approaching in two or three days and we are keeping an eye on it,” he said. Prolonged dry spell had evoked concern among the Valleyties. Environmentalists had expressed fear about it having telling affect on the Valley’s agriculture and horticulture production. Srinagar had witnessed less than 5mm of rainfall since the beginning of this month. The water level in the Jhelum and its tributaries has receded considerably and at many places the river has turned dry. The snowfall has come as a relief for people who were seen enjoying it. “It is like a dream come true. It was looking like that the winter would pass without snowfall but the almighty has finally given us respite. Our prayers have been answered,” said Abid Ahmad. In different areas of Kupwara people offered Namaz Shukrana. Valley wide prayers were held last Friday for snow and rains. ROADS BLOCKED Snowfall led to the closure of Chowkibal- Tangdhar road, Farkayan- Keran road and Kalaroos-Machil road. Scores of Karnah bound vehicles were stopped near TCP Chowkibal by Army and were not allowed to move towards the Sadnah pass- the only entry point for border tehsil Karnah. Around three feet fresh snow has accumulated there. Similarly roads to Keran and Machil were closed due to accumulation of thick blanket of snow and slippery road. SNOW CLEARANCE Following fresh snowfall in the Kashmir Valley, R&B Minister, G M Saroori Friday directed the engineers of the Mechanical Engineer (MED) and Roads and Building (R&B) Departments to closely monitor the situation and press into service men and machinery to ensure quick snow clearance on the roads. Government has kept 59 snow clearance machines ready to meet any emergent requirement. 24 heavy snow clearance machines have been pressed into service at Gulmarg, Yousmarg, Kulgam, Shopian and Pahalgam areas.