Avoid travelling to and in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Monday and Tuesday: normal life could be severely affected in the three Himalayan States on these two days due to heavy to very heavy snow and rain.
Addressing a specially convened press conference, India Meteorological Department Director General, L.S. Rathore, said there were indications that an “intense’’ western disturbance could sweep over the western Himalayan region beginning Sunday.
“light to moderate rain or snow would commence over western Himalayan region from Sunday onwards, which will become heavy to very heavy on 4th and 5 Feb.’’.
The system, he said, could affect, the adjoining plains — Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and west Uttar Pradesh and West Rajasthan too. But, normal life in these areas would not be as affected as in the hilly tracts.
“There is a possibility of thunder squalls accompanied by hailstorms occurring over the plains. But, they would be not widespread. They may occur over some areas only’’.
Asked to quantify the severity of the disturbance that was expected, he said while the snow fall could be between four and seven cm, rainfall could be between two and four cm.
Replying to a question, he affirmed that the heavy snow fall could trigger avalanches. “Since snow occupies 10 times more space than rain drop, a snow precipitation of four to seven cm would mean the depth of snow that could get accumulated could range from 80 cm to 1.5 metre over the two days’’.
He, however, declined to hazard a guess on when and where avalanches could take place on the ground that it was for SASE [Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment under the Defence Research and Development Organisation] to do such forecasts.
Pointing out that several aspects need to be taken into consideration to make an avalanche forecast, such as the gradient of a mountain slope, the wind, temperature regime in the area, he noted that SASE and not IMD had the necessary equipment and expertise for this. “SASE has the mandate to forecast avalanches and not IMD’’.
Dr. Rathore noted that the rains would be positive for the farmers as it would help them avoid one spell of irrigation. “Only mustard farmers in some areas could suffer because of the hail storms that could accompany the rains in a few pockets. Farmers elsewhere would only stand to benefit because of the savings they would be making on fuel charges by avoiding one spell of irrigation’’.
The fog conditions prevailing over Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and West Uttar Pradesh would also progressively reduce and there would be no fog in the region between Monday and Wednesday.
As regards temperatures, he said that because of cloudiness and the flow of wind from south, while the day temperatures could dip by about one to two degrees Celsius, the night temperatures could raise by three to five degrees Celsius between Sunday and Wednesday.
From Thursday, however, with the eastward movement of the system, cold north-westerly winds would set in back leading to a fall in night temperatures by four to six degrees Celsius.
The rains, he said, could also mean that there would be no more possibility of frost conditions developing over the plains of north-west India this season.