SRINAGAR: The night temperature at most places in Kashmir division, including Ladakh, dipped last night, even as the region is bracing up for possible heavy snowfall from tomorrow.
An official of the MET department said here that Leh continued to be the coldest recorded place in the state as the mercury there settled at the low of minus 9.7 degrees Celsius last night, which though, was an increase of over three degrees from minus 13 degrees Celsius the previous night.
He said the nearby Kargil town was the second coldest place as it recorded a low of minus 9.2 degrees Celsius – nearly a degree down from the previous night’s minus 8.4 degrees Celsius.
Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – recorded a low of minus 1.2 degree Celsius last night – a degree down from the previous night.
The official said the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 2.1 degrees Celsius – slightly down from minus 1.9 degrees Celsius the previous night.
He said Kokernag town recorded a low of 0.8 degree Celsius – same as yesterday.Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius compared to the previous night’s minus 2.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
Gulmarg recorded a low of zero degrees Celsius, same as the previous night.
He said Pahalgam registered a minimum of minus 2.1 degrees Celsius as against minus 1.5 degrees Celsius the previous night.
The Meteorological Department has said a western disturbance would affect the state from tomorrow and warned of heavy rains and snowfall.
The MET Office has said while the weather is likely to remain dry in the valley today, a fresh Western Disturbance is most likely to affect the state from tomorrow to 15 December with moisture feeding taking place from the Arabian Sea.
“Under the influence of this system, moderate to heavy rain or snow is expected at widespread places of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh region.
“The main activity of this system (moderate to heavy rainfall or snowfall) is likely to occur during 12-13 December and gradual decrease thereafter,” the official said.
He said this would be the first major wet spell during the current season for the state.
The official said the weather system may lead to disruption of surface and air transportation and there would be significant fall in the day temperature and slight rise in night temperature.
In view of weather forecast, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has directed Divisional Administration of Kashmir to be in a state of preparedness and responsive to any crisis thrown up by the inclement weather.
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The chief minister has directed all departments to gear up in view of the weather forecast and deploy their men and machinery on the ground beforehand.
Mehbooba directed that there should be no delay in snow clearance operations and, as soon as it starts to accumulate, snow clearance machines should be pressed into service so that people do not face any inconvenience.
For this, she directed positioning of snow clearance machines at critical spots beforehand so that snow is cleared in a minimum time.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan yesterday chaired the Divisional Disaster Management Authority meeting and reviewed the overall winter preparedness with heads of various department.
The Divisional Commissioner directed the officials to keep ready all of their men and machinery to meet any kind of eventuality in the event of inclement weather.
The meeting was informed that for the first time every deputy commissioner has been given Rs. 52 lakh each as mitigation fund to meet any eventuality and further money of Rs. 58 lakh has been parked with Divisional Commissioner office beforehand.
The meeting was also informed that essential commodities like LPG, petrol and diesel are stocked for almost 25 days and rice is sufficient for two months.
The Mechanical Engineering Department (MED) has said it has put all the arrangements in place to ensure speedy snow clearance and de-watering.
“Mechanical Engineering Department, Kashmir is fully prepared for timely clearance of snow and all the preparations have been done to keep men and machinery ready to respond to any situation in view of the weather advisory from December 11,” Vijay Kumar Raina, Chief Engineer, MED, Kashmir, said.
He said the Department has carried out the mock drills, other preparatory works and has directed the officials at the district and provincial level to keep the men and machinery ready.
“We have activated our control rooms including 10 in South Kashmir, five in North Kashmir and three in Central Kashmir.We have also created one provincial level control room which will keep track of every development across the region as far as the weather changes are concerned,” he said.
Raina said department has various machines, including some high-end equipment, like snow ploughs, snow cutters, motor graders, motor loaders and dozers and unimog.
“We have 141 machines standby and these have been distributed to various districts according to requirement,” he said.