Govt May Pull Kashmir’s Plug Again As Experts Foresee Heavy Snow

Govt May Pull Kashmir’s Plug Again As Experts Foresee Heavy Snow

14 January 2012
Kashmir Observer
Asif Rizvi

Srinagar: Winter seems intent on making history in Kashmir this season, inflicting the fourth coldest night on record in Srinagar yesterday as weathermen expected at least 35 cm snow in the Pir Pantsal ranges on Saturday, a god-send for the government given to blame weather for knocking out the valley’s power imports. Adding caprice to cruelty, the sun broke through clouds before midday on Saturday to mock the overnight minus 7.8 degrees said to have narrowly missed a 16-year-old record. Oblivious of having survived one of the coldest nights in living memory, with a precipitous drop of nearly four degrees, city-folk battled on, pitting their meagre reserves against an unforgiving foe. Undoubtedly sluggish and jammed, life showed little signs of having spent over twelve hours, mostly without power, under temperatures a whopping six degrees below normal. Weather forecasts of snow around Sunday or Monday hold some promise of relief, but come with warnings of air and land transport disruptions. With the meteorological department expecting around 35 cm of snow or more in ‘some places’ in the Pir Panjal tomorrow itself, the government has a ready-made excuse to claim that Kashmir’s fragile power import structure had broken down again. Prevailing western disturbances were likely to intensify from tonight, and affect Jammu and Kashmir till Monday, weathermen said. The weather system would bring moderate to heavy rainfall or snow in most places on the Pir Pantsal range in the Kashmir division, and a few places in the higher reaches of Jammu and Ladakh, region they said. Documented meteorology places minus 14.4 degrees on January 31, 1893, as the lowest recorded in Srinagar, followed by minus 9 degrees in 1986, according to the weather bureau. Deep sub-zero cold kept most of the valley frozen, with the north Kashmir ski-resort of Gulmarg the coldest at minus 15.2 degrees, followed by Qazigund, the southern gateway to the plains at the Pir Pantsal foothills at minus 13.6 degrees. Neighbouring Kokernag resort was close behind at minus 13 degrees, while Pahalgam continued with its minus 12.2 degrees, reports said.