STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU/SRINAGAR: Incessant rainfall, hailstorm and unseasonal fresh snowfall in the hills of Bhadarwah and Doda and many areas in the higher reaches of Kashmir on Friday triggered extreme cold wave conditions in the entire State, marring prospect of good farm and horticulture yield.
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has directed the administration to be in a state of preparedness in view of the heavy downpour in plains and snowfall in higher reaches.
After repeated spells of rain coupled with strong winds and hailstorm since last one week at several places, most of the high altitude areas of Chenab Valley experienced unseasonal fresh snowfall since late last night, officials said.
The snowfall in the hills and continuous spells of rain coupled with hailstorms has marred the prospects of a good yield in the region.
Kailash Mountain Range, Asha Pati Glacier, Padri Gali, Bhaal Padri, Chatargala, surrounding Bhadarwah while Braid Baal in Doda and Nehyed Chilly, Laloopani, Patyala, Talai, Mohaant and Nargadi of Bhallessa experienced fresh snowfall since early morning, they said.
Meanwhile, Jaie, Guldanda, Bhadarwah town, Kota Khadangal, Ladu Kansar, Dhadkai, Kilru, Kandoloo and Gill-Kanan were lashed with moderate to heavy hailstorms and rains, they said.
The incessant rainfall, hailstorm and fresh snowfall in hills have triggered extreme cold wave conditions in entire Chenab Valley with the recent fruit growers of Bhadarwah, Bhallesa and Banihal areas are apprehending huge losses as hailstorm in the lower regions and snowfall in the upper reaches have reportedly damaged the buds and flowers of fruit trees especially that of Almonds, Apricot, Pears, Plump, Peach and Cherry, the weathermen said.
Many areas in the higher reaches of Kashmir received fresh snowfall on Friday, while heavy rainfall lashed the plains in the valley, including the summer capital Srinagar, bringing down the maximum temperatures way below the normal limit.
Several areas in the higher reaches of Kashmir Valley experienced fresh snowfall, an official of the MeT department said.
He said that snowfall was recorded in Gulmarg the famous ski-resort and Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, Sonamarg and higher areas of Kangan in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, Zojila Pass, near Amarnath Cave, Drass and Zabarwan hills in Srinagar.
The official said there are reports of snowfall in other areas in the upper reaches as well. The plain areas in the Valley were lashed by heavy rain which continued throughout the day, he said.
The official said Qazigund recorded the highest rainfall of 31.4 mm from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. He said Srinagar recorded 26.2 mm of rainfall since the morning. The snowfall and rains brought down the maximum temperature below the normal for this time of the season, the official said.
Srinagar recorded a maximum of 11 degrees Celsius on Friday, against the normal of 21.1 degrees Celsius.
The rains also led to inundation of roads and lanes in many areas of the city.
Chief Minister has directed all the concerned Departments like PDD, I&FC, PHE and other Departments to gear up in view of the inclement weather and deploy their men and machinery on the ground to meet the situation arising out of heavy rainfall.
She directed the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Urban Local Bodies to ensure that dewatering process is initiated quickly in all the low lying and water logged areas and roads of Srinagar city and other towns. She also directed the PDD authorities to ensure immediate repair and replacement of infrastructure damaged due to strong winds in many parts of the Valley.
Expressing concern over the losses caused to orchards and other property in Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian districts and parts of Chenab Valley due to hail and strong winds, Mehbooba Mufti also directed the Divisional administrations of both provinces to provide all relief and assistance at the earliest to people in need of it.
The Chief Minister has also directed the Divisional Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir to supervise early reopening of major Highways connecting Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh regions and till then the stranded passengers be taken care of by the administration properly. She also directed the Deputy Commissioners of hilly districts to keep a watch on the civilian movement in areas for which avalanche warnings have been issued by the Met Department.
In the meantime, a resident of Kota Top said,”We were expecting good yield this year as all the fruit trees were blooming with maximum flowers, but to our dismay, we wake up this morning to see all our hopes razed to ground as overnight hailstorm has badly damaged the flowers.”
“Unseasonal snowfall in the surrounding hills resulting in extreme cold wave conditions in the Valley has badly affected the prospects of pear fruit as due to continuous low temperature, the buds on pear trees could not reach the flowering stage, resulting in huge loss to the crop, ” Mohd Shafi Sheikh, a leading fruit grower in Chenab Valley, said.
Chief Horticulture Officer (CHO) Doda Madan Lal Tak said, “As of now, we are monitoring the situation which has arisen after continuous hostile weather and according to the preliminary reports, which we have gathered from our field staff, there may be a loss of 20 per cent to the crop.”
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