Many areas in the higher reaches of Kashmir experienced fresh snowfall on Sunday, even as an overcast sky led to relief from intense cold conditions as the mercury increased across the Valley and Ladakh region.
The meteorological (MeT) department has predicted widespread rains or snowfall over the next two days.
Fresh snowfall was recorded in Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Kupwara areas of Kashmir on Sunday morning, a MeT official said.
He said while one centimetre snow was recorded in Kupwara, where it started snowing during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, the twin tourist resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam received snowfall on Sunday morning.
There were reports of snowfall in many other areas in the higher reaches of the Valley.
The MeT Office has forecast fairly widespread to widespread rains or snow with heavy falls at isolated places over the next two days.
The weather forecast has prompted authorities to put in place a mechanism to respond quickly to any exigency arising out of snowfall. The government has warned officials that any lapse in snow clearance will not be tolerated and responsibility will be fixed in case any complaint is received.
The warning comes in view of the severe criticism which the government faced after the authorities failed to clear most of the roads in the wake of heavy snowfall on January 6.
Owing to overcast sky, the night temperature across the Valley and Ladakh region improved by several degrees, providing relief to the residents from the intense cold conditions.
Srinagar, which had experienced the coldest night of the season on Saturday when the mercury settled at a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius, recorded a low of minus 2.3 degrees Celsius on Sunday, the MeT official said.
Leh town, in Ladakh region, was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir as the mercury there settled at a low of minus 13.7 degrees Celsius, which is over three degrees up from Saturday’s minus 17.0 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 10.5 degrees Celsius, up nearly four degrees from minus 14.4 degrees Celsius the previous night. The mercury in Pahalgam, in south Kashmir, went up nearly eight degrees from Saturday’s minus 12.0 degrees Celsius to settle at the low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius.
Kokernag, in south Kashmir, registered a low of minus 4.7 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara town in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius, the official said.