SRINAGAR: Snow lovers may finally rejoice as Kashmir is expected to receive few spells of snowfall till January 31, beginning Thursday, thus ending the long dry spell in the region.
Winter this year has been very dry with plains, including Srinagar, receiving no snowfall and upper reaches including the famous ski resort of Gulmarg receiving very less snow.
Director Meteorological Department Kashmir, Mukhtar Ahmed, said the dry spell is likely to end as few Western Disturbances are likely to hit the Valley, which may lead to rains and snowfall.
The spells of snowfall will begin from Thursday (January 25). “Light snowfall is expected at isolated places in upper reaches of Jammu and Kashmir on January 25 night.
On January 26-27, there is forecast of light rain over plains and light snow at isolated places in higher reaches,” Mukhtar said.
He said there is a possibility of light to moderate rain and snow over many places in J&K on January 28-29. Mukhtar said there is further possibility of light to moderate rain and snow at widespread places on January 30-31.
“On February 1-2, there is also a possibility of light rain and snow at many places in the region,” he said. Asked whether the plains would also experience snowfall, Mukhtar said in the spell on January 28-29, the plains of north Kashmir would record snowfall while in the spell on Jan 30-31, Srinagar and other plains in central Kashmir would receive moderate snowfall.
Kashmir is in grip of 40-day harshest winter period of Chilai Kalan, when the chances of snowfall are very high. Chilai Kalan begins on December 21.
Mukhtar attributed the lengthy dry spell and reduced snowfall to the El-Nino effect, a periodic sequence of climatic changes that impact parts of the Pacific region. “It has been observed generally that when there is an El Nino effect, there has been 55 to 60 per cent decrease in precipitation in winter,” he said.
The end of the dry spell and snowfall would not only bring smiles on faces of locals but also cheer up the snow lovers, tourists and tourism stakeholders in the Valley.
Due to the continued dry spell, the world famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir, Pahalgam health resort in south Kashmir and Sonamarg in central Kashmir is without snow. The ‘rare’ snowless Kashmir has disappointed the tourists visiting the place this winter.
The much awaited phenomenon will also bring big relief to farmers, who are worried that the dry land could severely impact agriculture and horticulture production. The fate of 4th Khelo India winter games in Gulmarg also depends on the snowfall.
The Khelo India games, which were scheduled to be held in Gulmarg from February 2-6, are likely to be postponed till the third week of February in view of anticipation of snowfall due to snow forecast by the weather department.