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J&K, Ladakh record drop in Feb rain, snow

By HT Correspondent, Srinagar
PUBLISHED ON FEB 29, 2020 10:58 PM IST

The Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh region recorded a sharp decline in rain and snowfall for the month of February, according to meteorological data that environmentalists said suggests a connection with the climate crisis.

According to Jammu and Kashmir meteorological department director Sonum Lotus, rain and snow was 66-90% deficient, while in the preceding two months – December and January – the trends had largely been normal.

“J&K was 80 to 90 percent deficit, Kargil 53 percent deficit and Leh 97 percent deficit. We expect the month-end spell slightly improves this deficit,” said Lotus, referring to the western disturbance that has triggered rain in the northern plains and snow in some parts of the Himalayan region, including those in Himachal and J&K.

February, Lotus said, received was no major “disturbance” patterns.

Western disturbance refers to moisture-heavy winds that blow in from over the Arabian sea and parts of west Asia, which then precipitate as rain over the plains and as snow in the mountains in winter months.

Environmentalist and film maker, Jalal Jeelani said that heavy snow/rainfalls or deficit rainfall is an indication that weather patterns are changing. “In J&K we are witnessing affects of global warming. This year we had frequent spells of snowfall in November, December and January, while February has been dry.’’

In the last three months, at least 27 people including 18 security personnel lost their lives due to heavy snowfall in different parts of Kashmir. In North Kashmir, especially in the higher reaches and the places along the Line of Control, there was over 10 feet of snow -- considered a considerable accumulation in the recent years.

Lotus, however, added that the frequency of Western Disturbances was high in January. “This is not the first time we are witnessing this pattern. Last year also we had witnessed heavy snowfall in November.’’

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