Flight operations from Srinagar International Airport will continue to be suspended due to poor visibility until at least Thursday, when the season’s first precipitation is expected. Sonam Lotus, Director of Meteorological Department, has predicted light spell of rainfall between October 24 and 26, along with snow in the higher reaches.
“Rainfall is necessary to dissipate the fog and pollution that has accumulated in the atmosphere, creating poor visibility,” said Lotus. He added that pollutants from the burning of charcoal and cow dung and the use
of heating amenities in the approaching cold have combined with vehicular and factory emissions to worsen the situation. There is also a temperature inversion in the lower atmosphere contributing to the fog, he said.
Flight operations at the Srinagar Airport were first impacted on last Thursday. Air traffic has since remained more or less suspended, with the exception of two flights landing and then taking off on Saturday.
“The weather this year was especially dry and there is no wind to dissipate the fog,” said Sharad Kumar, Director, Airports Authority of India (Srinagar Airport). If there are even light spells of rain, visibility shall be restored for the entire winter season.
The weather department also expects isolated precipitation in higher reaches within the next 24 hours. Light snowfall was already witnessed in Sonmarg hill station earlier this morning.
Temperatures in Srinagar fell to 2.8°C last night, while the lowest temperatures were recorded in Leh at minus 4°C and Pahalgam at minus 2.2°C.