Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) received 188 mm (7 inches) of precipitation during October and November 2019, making it 171% above usual. On November 6 and 7 this year, Kashmir also saw its heaviest November snow in four decades. According to the MeT Department, summer capital Srinagar registered 228 mm (9 inches) rain and snowfall during the same period, which was 685% higher than normal precipitation.
Pulwama was the second wettest district with 618% excess precipitation. Kulgam, on the other hand, received excess rainfall of 587%. Similarly, Baramulla received 544% higher, Anantnag 504%, Budgam 471%, and Bandipora 341% above normal precipitation registered in November 2019.
The wettest districts in the Jammu division were Rajouri with 409% excess rain, and Raesi with 358%.
"Interaction of cold winds blowing southwards from [the[ polar region with the western disturbances led to very heavy precipitation in [the] form of recent snowfall across Kashmir. The scenario is likely to prolong during [the] current winter season," said MeT officials.
This year, Kashmir also registered its heaviest snow in November in around 40 years. Snowfall records of past four decades-- monitored by the Meteorological Department-- showed that 9.6 cm (4 inches) equivalent snowfall was recorded between November 6 and 7 in Srinagar is the heaviest 24-hour snowfall recorded in November since 1980.
This has resulted in some of the most extreme cold days across the Valley to date.
"Almost every western disturbance that passed led to heavy rainfall or snowfall in the Valley during November," said a MeT official.
The untimely snowfall on November 7 was due to the presence of Cyclone "Maha" in the Arabian sea, plus the wind interaction with the western disturbances.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), however, has forecasted that northern portions of the country including Jammu and Kashmir will see a normal winter, as minimum temperatures will stay within the normal range. IMD's weather forecast issued on Friday, November 29, showed the seasonal temperature outlook from December 2019 to February 2020.
While the town of Gulmarg recorded 1.39 m (4.5 feet) of snow on November 7, the plains received 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) of snow on the said day, according to MeT data.
"There were only two days when major snowfall was witnessed, but it surpassed the monthly average snowfall," the MeT officials said.
The snowfall on November 7, followed by cold weather, had caused several landslides on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, resulting in frequent road closures. The road is the only all-weather road, linking the Valley to the rest of the world, and it remained closed for traffic for 13 days in November.
Moreover, the untimely snowfall led to 65 flights canceled from Srinagar International Airport in November. The heavy snowfall also wreaked havoc on the 8 000 rupee core horticulture sector, with initial estimates suggesting 2 500 rupee core losses suffered to the apple industry.
Featured image credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP/VIIRS. Acquired November 7, 2019