Source:- Greater Kashmir Newspaper The higher reaches of popular ski-resort Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district received the season’s first snowfall on Saturday while weather remained overcast in the plains bringing down the temperatures sharply. As per the Meteorological Department officials, a light spell of snowfall was received in the higher reaches of Gulmarg including Affarwat peak. “It started snowing in Affarwat peak in the afternoon but was only a light spell of snowfall,” said a MeT official adding that a blanket of snow covered the peaks. The MeT department has predicted a two-day wet spell till Sunday in the Valley due to an active Western Disturbance over Jammu and Kashmir, which causes changes in weather. The snowfall in the higher reaches and rainfall in some parts of plains brought down the temperatures. Summer capital Srinagar recorded 24.2 degree Celsius while Gulmarg recorded 13.6 degree Celsius maximum temperature on Saturday, several notches below the normal. As per MeT data, Gulmarg recorded 3.4 millimeters of rainfall on Saturday till 5:30 pm. The MeT forecast said wet weather was likely to continue till Sunday after which a significant improvement in weather was expected from Monday.
Director MeT, Sonam Lotus said, “Light rainfall in the plains and light spell of snowfall in upper reaches was likely during next 24 to 36 hours.” However, Lotus said even as weather was likely to remain overcast, there is no forecast for any heavy rainfall. “We expect a drop in mercury by 2 to 3 degrees in the next two to three days. As the shift in season occurs, we expect gradual decrease in temperatures during first week of October,” Lotus said. However, the change in weather and early snowfall which usually brings cheer to tourism players has failed to lift the sentiment this year due to the pandemic. Despite the situation owing to Covid-19, some tour operators said they were still hopeful for tourist footfalls to pick up. “The tourism sector has taken a hit due to the pandemic but we are hopeful that due to restrictions in international travel, there would be some revival of domestic tourism. The early snowfall is a welcome sign but we hope there is some respite from the pandemic soon so that tourism influx gets a boost,” said Farooq Kuthoo, president, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir.