Heavy rain and snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday left three people dead and several apple orchards extensively damaged. With parts of Kashmir receiving snowfall while heavy rains lashed others, Srinagar recorded the coldest October day in 39 years as the maximum temperature plummeted across the valley. The snow and rainfall have led to an early onset of winter-like conditions in the valley.
Of the three persons killed, two were women. The three were killed after snowfall and rains, which started late on Friday night, triggered a mudslide that hit a tent set up by nomads in Noorpora in the Tral area of Pulwama district. Another person received critical injuries in the incident. All three were nomads belonging to Reasi district in the Jammu division.
Meanwhile, two people died while as many were rescued after they were trapped in snowfall in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, taking the death toll due to inclement weather to five.
Last night, stranded persons at Sinthan Pass in south Kashmir district were rescued, they said.
The officials said moderate snowfall was recorded in Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam, Shopian and Gurez areas of the valley.
Minamarg and Drass in Ladakh also received snowfall since Friday night, they added.
The officials said light snowfall was reported from some areas in Pulwama and Kulgam districts, while some areas in the plains, including summer capital Srinagar, received sleet.
They said Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir's Anantnag district received about five inches of snowfall from the morning till 2.30 pm, while Sonamarg resort in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district recorded seven inches of snowfall.
The snowfall has caused extensive damage to apple orchards in some areas of the valley, especially in Shopian and Kulgam districts in south Kashmir where most of the horticulture produce was yet to be harvested.
CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami has expressed concern over the losses caused to orchardists by the untimely snowfall and demanded immediate compensation for them.
“A large number of fruit-bearing trees are reported to have suffered damages due to unseasonal snowfall witnessed in several parts of Kashmir valley. Reportedly, 50 per cent fruit crop was yet to be harvested in the twin districts of Shopian and Kulgam. There should be an immediate assessment of losses suffered by the orchardists," Tarigami said in a statement.
He said the government must depute expert teams to assess the losses, especially in south Kashmir which has been the worst hit.
He also expressed grief over the death of three members of the nomadic family in Tral.
Meanwhile, owing to rain and snow, the maximum temperature across the valley plummeted on Saturday.
Srinagar recorded a maximum of 6.6 degrees Celsius which is the coldest October day in 39 years. The last time the city had recorded the maximum temperature lower than Saturday's was 5.0 degrees Celsius on October 28, 1982.
The meteorological department said the rain/snow has decreased considerably in north and central Kashmir and many areas of the Jammu region on Saturday evening.
“We expect a further decrease in rain/snowfall in entire Jammu and Kashmir. Overall, improvement is most likely from tomorrow.