“Intense” disturbance over the western Himalayan region likely

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. Weathermen predict heavy to very heavy snow and rain.

Addressing a special 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. This will become heavy to very heavy on 4 and 5,” the official said.

The system, Dr. Rathore said, could affect the adjoining plains — Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and western parts of Uttar Pradesh and 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,” Dr. Rathore said.

Asked to quantify the severity of the disturbance that was expected, he said while the snowfall could be between four and seven cm, rainfall could be between two and four cm.

Replying to a question, Dr. Rathore affirmed that the heavy snowfall could trigger avalanches. “Since snow occupies 10 times more space than the 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 metres over the two days.”

Pointing out that several aspects need to be taken into consideration in making an avalanche forecast — such as the gradient of a mountain slope, the wind, temperature regime in the area — he said the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment, and not IMD, had the necessary equipment and expertise.

Dr. Rathore said 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 hailstorms 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 a spell of irrigation.”

The foggy 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, the official indicated.

As a result of cloudiness and wind-movement from the south, day temperatures could dip by one or two degrees Celsius while nights could get hotter by three to five degrees Celsius between Sunday and Wednesday, Dr. Rathore indicated.

From Thursday, however, with the eastward movement of the system, cold north-westerly winds would again set in, leading to a fall in night temperatures by four to six degrees Celsius.

The rains, he said, could eliminate the possibility of frost conditions developing over the plains of the north-west this season.