Fear of floods looms large as Met predicts more rain in Kashmir

Government, people hope for the best but prepare for the worst

March 31, 2015 11:54 am | Updated November 16, 2021 05:45 pm IST - Srinagar

A dry Tuesday brought some relief to the residents of Srinagar as the water in the Jhelum receded below the flood alarm levels. But with the Meteorological Department predicting moderate to heavy rainfall on Wednesday, the fear of floods hung over the city like dark clouds.

“The situation has improved a lot with the dry spell. While the water level in south Kashmir has gone down — much below the danger level — in Srinagar it has receded just below the flood level,” Javed Jaffer, Chief Engineer of Irrigation and Flood Control Department, told The Hindu.

A 42-hour-long dry spell has given ample time to the government to prepare for the floods. At the same time, it has given hope to the people that the situation this time might not be as bad as it was in September last year. Mr. Jaffer said there were no breaches in either the Jhelum or any of its streams and the river was “holding up very well.”

At 8 p.m., the water level at the Sangam gauge in south Kashmir was recorded at 13.9 feet, dropping seven feet below the flood level of 21 feet. In Srinagar, the Jhelum was at 16.95 feet, a foot below the flood level of 18 feet. On Monday afternoon, at its peak, the river rumbled at 22.5 feet in Sangam and 19.7 feet in Srinagar.

“The Jhelum flows quickly from south Kashmir to Srinagar but takes much longer to flow out from Srinagar towards north Kashmir. This puts Srinagar at the risk of floods,” Mr. Jaffer said. He said if it rained heavily on Wednesday, things could turn grim yet again in Srinagar.

The government, the administration and the people are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. “Wednesday will be a day of rainfall. We are expecting moderate rainfall although in some places it could be heavy,” said Sonam Lotus, director of the Meteorological Department.

The government said it was prepared to meet the inclement weather challenge and was working hard to avoid any flooding in Srinagar. “We are prepared for any eventuality and have been working round-the-clock with various functionaries of the State to face the predicted fresh spell of rainfall,” Imran Ansari, senior PDP leader and Cabinet Minister, said.

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