With fresh rainfall longest dry spell in the weather history of Kashmir is likely to end as the local meteorological department has predicted downpour and snowfall. From Tuesday morning plains and upper reaches of the Valley are receiving rain and snowfall. According to official data maintained by meteorological department since 1980, this year Kashmir has received only 3.6 mm precipitation in the months of October, November and December. The data available with the MET shows previous driest and post monsoon period between October to December has been in 2007, when there was 15.9 mm precipitation followed by year 2002, when there was 17.1 mm precipitation. The highest precipitation in Kashmir in post monsoon period has been in the year 1990.
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The Director meteorological department Sonam Lotus said that this continuous dry spell is going to end on January 4. There will be moderate to heavy snowfall in the higher reaches of Kashmir, while plains will also receive moderate to light snowfall between January 4 and 6. He also asked people traveling to higher reaches to take precautions.
Lotus said that as per various “long range weather models India as a whole is going to witness low precipitation this year. This is just a prediction. It is too early to say anything more over it.
Chief engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Mohammad Hanief Lone also agrees that this has been the driest period in the history of Kashmir. As per the data available with our department, the water level in our rivers has receded to the lowest in the last 61 years. This is going to create problems for our drinking use and irrigation.
The figures of water level at various points provided by the chief engineer record -0.60 feet at Sangam, 2.60 feet at Rammunshi Bagh, while at Asham Sumbal water level is at 1.25 feet. The water level has also receded at Asia’s largest fresh water lake to 1573.92 feet- 14 centimeters below normal.
Head Department of Earth Sciences Dr Shakil Ahmed Romshoo says that currently this dry spell is not casting any problems in Kashmir. Since our water use is limited to domestic use only, there is no immediate cause to worry, he said. As we head into spring and summer, water is needed for irrigation and it is where problem may arise, Romshoo said.
He said this period has been driest in the history of Kashmir. In the recent past there have been dry periods in 2010 and 2005, but this has been longest of over five months.
Romshoo also expressed concern over the aquatic life of Kashmir as the water level has receded to all time low. “We have fish species like Rainbow and Brown Trout who need flowing water for survival, he said.
For the horticulture sector- under which two lakh hectare land falls of which 1.40 lakh hectare is under apple plantation, for it there is nothing to worry as of now but problem may arise after 15 February if current dry spell continues, says Pomology expert Manzoor Ahmed Bhat. Currently, all fruit plants are in sleeping mode and there is zero percent water loss. From February 15 when plants will need capillary water, then it may be alarming.