A sudden and early onset of a cold wave has enveloped the Kashmir Valley, setting new seasonal benchmarks and impacting daily life across the region. The mercury plunged, marking the coldest night this season, with temperatures hitting a low of minus 0.8°C in Srinagar, the heart of the valley 15 days before the normal onset of the winter.
Mukhtar Ahmad, the Director of the Meteorological Department, highlighted the unexpected drop in temperatures, approximately 2°C below the norm. He predicted sustained chilly conditions until the 27th, with temperatures expected to plummet further into sub-zero territory. This unanticipated onset of cold weather has heralded an early winter across Kashmir.
Not only Srinagar but various regions across the valley, including Pahalgam and Gulmarg, experienced sub-zero temperatures. Pahalgam reported a chilling low of minus 2.6°C, while Gulmarg, the renowned skiing destination, recorded a minimum of minus 1.2°C. The entire valley was shrouded in dense fog during mornings and evenings, significantly reducing visibility and causing disruptions to daily commutes.
According to the MET department, the forecast indicates predominantly dry weather until November 27, with sporadic cloud cover on November 25. However, the prevailing conditions of fog and mist during morning and evening hours persist, affecting both air and surface transportation. Consequently, caution is advised to motorists to prevent accidents, as low visibility has led to flight cancellations and delays.
While the unusual weather poses challenges for the locals, tourists have embraced the wintry charm of Kashmir. Visitors like Aman Patel from Gujarat expressed their delight despite the cold and fog, relishing their experiences in Gulmarg and Pahalgam, where they encountered snowfall, adding to the allure of the scenic Kashmiri landscapes.
In light of this early winter spell, the tourism industry remains optimistic, expecting a surge in winter tourism akin to the bustling summers. The tourism department is gearing up for this influx, making necessary preparations to ensure a memorable experience for visitors flocking to the picturesque Kashmir valley.