As heat wave sweeps North India, Kashmir gets rare snowfall in June
The upper reaches of Kashmir on Wednesday received rare snowfall and heavy rain leading to flooding in some areas even as plains of North India are reeling under an intense heat wave.
Rain and fresh snowfall in the upper regions of the Valley, especially in Sonmarg and Gurez led to a drop in day temperature. However, weather department officials termed the snowfall in June as a “rare” meteorological event that was “not unusual”.
Sonum Lotus, director of India Meteorological Department (IMD) office in Srinagar, said widespread rain and snow was recorded in Drass, Kargil, Zojilla and Zanskar.
“Snow in June in the upper parts of the valley is not unusual but a rare event. It has happened in the past and will happen in future as well,’’ he said. “Since the department has not an observatory in Zanskar so they don’t have written record when the snowfall was recorded in June.”
Apart from Kashmir, snowfall in higher reaches have also been reported from Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim in June.
Lotus said that whenever it rains for couple of days and temperature goes down there is possibility of snowfall in upper areas of valley.
“Weather is improving but light to moderate rain is most likely to continue in the next few days. There will be an overall improvement in weather from Thursday,’’ he said.
Tourist traffic which had been low in Kashmir this year, has shown substantial increase in the past two months.
The unusual snowfall was blessing in disguise for tourists at a time when the temperature in northern Indian plains was hovering around 45 to 46 degree Celsius.
“I have never witnessed snow in summers. For me it was not less than a miracle of watching snow in June when the heat wave is continuing in northern parts of the India,’’ said Rajesh Kumar a tourist from Rajasthan. “I want to extend my trip just to enjoy this pleasant weather.’’
Jalal Jeelani, an environmentalist and renowned film maker on environmental issues said that there was nothing to celebrate in this. “For us it is a warning and sign of the global warming. The snowfall is dangerous to our horticulture and agriculture sector. We should ponder why this is happening in our region.’’
Chief engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control department, Ashok Kumar Sharma said that there was a heavy rain in Kashmir on Tuesday night resulted in flash floods in many stream and nullahs in south Kashmir.
“Around 2 pm, the water level at Sangam crossed the danger level of 18 feet but at other places it is still below the danger level. The water is now receding and there is no danger of any floods in Kashmir.’’
Sharma, however, said they are on alert and keeping watch on Jehlum and streams flowing in the Valley.
Former J&K chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti said that alarming reports of unfortunate loss of lives and widespread damage to horticulture, agriculture and even infrastructure coming in from many places. “We urge the authorities to ensure efforts are in place to help the people and prepare better to deal with the developing situation.”