According to officials of J&K’s Meteorological Department, significant improvement in weather will begin on Sunday afternoon.
Farmers and apple growers were terrified when the Jammu and Kashmir Meteorological Department projected severe rain and snowfall across the region. This raised concerns among the orchardists, who fear loss due to ‘untimely’ snowfall in plains.
As it rained on Friday evening, farmers were hoping for rains only as snowfall meant a potential loss due to damage to apple orchards.
On Saturday morning, the snowfall in the middle reaches including Kulgam and Shopian reminded people of the previous untimely snowfalls of 2018 and 2019.
Orchards suffer damage in Kashmir’s Shopian
Early snowfall this season has damaged apple orchards in south Kashmir’s Shopian region, according to reports.
Light snowfall fell in the Shopian villages of Keller, Saloo and Herpora, causing damage to apple orchards because the fruit was still on the trees.
Meanwhile, a team from the Horticulture department travelled to the affected areas to inspect the damage. “According to initial reports, snow has fallen in a few locations of Shopian, including Keller and Herpora, causing damage to apple orchards. We’re analyzing the damage and will provide a report later,” Chief Horticulture Officer Shopian said.
Warnings, forecast issued earlier; Some orchardists act
The Horticulture Department had already issued an alert, urging apple and fruit growers to hurry up apple picking in light of forecasted rain and snowfall.
In particular, the MeT department has forecast severe rain and snowfall and has advised farmers and fruit growers to take cautious steps in light of the forecast.
Many farmers and apple producers in various areas of the valley were fearful and anxious since the picking of apples and threshing of paddy has not yet been finished.
An apple grower, Nadim Shafi, in southern Kashmir’s Shopian district said that since the MET department projected severe rain and snowfall in Kashmir, they have been living in fear and worry because 50% of their apple crop is still on the trees.
“If the snowfall continues as predicted by the MET, I’m concerned there will be a lot of damage. We’re already making a loss and can’t afford more,” said Abdul Khaliq Bhat, a fruit grower.
Meanwhile, another farmer, Shahid Ahmed, said that paddy threshing was done during night time this year after they installed lights, because of the prediction of snowfall.
He explained that they had to install lights for paddy threshing since they were unable to do it in such a short time after the MeT department issued a weather alert.
The weather continues to be wet in Kashmir
During the previous 12 hours, officials in Jammu and Kashmir’s Meteorological Department reported heavy rainfall with light snow across plains and light to moderate snow in the upper portions of the UT.
According to them, Qazigund had the most rain (58 mm), followed by Kokernag (50 mm), and Banihal (48mm).
Snowfall was moderate in tourist destinations Gulmarg and Pahalgam, as well as Shopian, Zojila, Drass, Zanskar, Gurez, and other upper and middle ranges.
It’s currently pouring in Kashmir and Jammu’s plains, and snow in the middle and upper regions.
Mughal Road closed due to fresh snowfall
Following the season’s first snowfall in the upper reaches at Pir Ki Gali, authorities blocked the Mughal Road connecting Jammu’s Poonch district with Shopian in south Kashmir to all types of vehicular travel on Saturday.
The route has been closed for all types of vehicles owing to slippery conditions and inclement weather, according to Deputy SP Traffic Aftab Shah.
He urged people to postpone their vehicle trips until the weather conditions improve and the authorities give the all-clear.
Rains, snowfall to continue till Sunday afternoon
It is presently snowing in parts of south Kashmir while central Kashmir plains are receiving heavy rainfall.
Moderate snowfall is expected in Shopian and Kulgam districts. While in Pulwama and Anantnag districts, light to moderate snowfall will continue. There are chances (25%) of light snow in the Srinagar and Budgam districts.
As far as the temperature is concerned, it continues to be chilly. The district-wise temperatures are – Anantnag 2.2°C; Budgam 3.4°C; Kulgam 0.2°C; Shopian 0.5°C; Baramulla 4.7°C; Bandipora 6.3°C; Kongdoori -0.8°C; Pulwama 2.1°C; Srinagar 4.4°C and Ganderbal 4.9°C.
According to the officials, the present system would most likely continue for the following 8-10 hours before gradually decreasing. However, there would be a significant improvement from Sunday afternoon, and that dry weather is forecast until November 2.