Winters appear to be making an early knock over North India. Fairly widespread rain and snow over mid and higher reaches of hilly states of north, a bit earlier than normal, is a precursor for a bitter winter season ahead. Mid and higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh have received fresh snowfall. The lower areas and plains of the valley have witnessed moderate to heavy rains, breaking in early winter like conditions.
Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg have received moderate snowfall, also being the first of the season for Pahalgam. Pulwama, Kulgam and Gurez also got white out with thick sheet of snow. Drass sector and Minamarg in Ladakh and all the posts in the forward sector of Siachen glacier received heavy snowfall disrupting normal operations.
Srinagar, Qazigund, Banihal and Shopian observed moderate to heavy rainfall on 23rdOctober. While popular resorts of Shimla and Manali received moderate rainfall, the mid and higher reaches were covered with thin blanket of snow.
Earlier, higher reaches of Kashmir, including Zoji-la pass, Anantnag and Sadna Top had received first snowfall of the season on 11thOctober. A week later, upper areas of Uttrakhand, namely Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath received 1st snowfall of the season on 18thOctober, halting Char Dham yatra.
With Drass - Sonamarg axis and parts of Pir Panjal Range getting 2nd bout of snow, a stream of chill is likely to travel down the plains of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi during the next 3-4 days. Minimum temperatures have already dropped below the normal over Dalhousie, Dharamshala, Shimla and Manali by 3-4°C. These are expected to follow suit with a similar margin, over plains of Punjab, Haryana , North Rajasthan and Delhi/ NCR.
National capital Delhi has already recorded lowest temperature of 16°C on 21stOctober, quite early in the season. The current spell of rain and snow over the hills and hailstorm in some pockets of Haryana and Delhi on 24thOctober, is likely to send the chill down to these areas in the next 2-3 days. Mercury is likely to plunge few notches and touch about 13°C during this period. It may just be a repeat of last year when the minimum temperature dropped to 12.5°C on 29thOctober 2020.
Factually, the Safdarjung observatory in Delhi had recorded October 2020 as the coldest since 1962, with mean minimum temperature of 17.2°C. The last week of October 2020 persistently registered minimum temperature of less than 15°C. In view of late withdrawal of monsoon this year from Delhi (08 Oct), the minimum temperatures remained high in the 1st half of the month. Accordingly, the average minimum temperature for Delhi as of now reads 22°C, well above the normal monthly mark. Overall, the month of October may close with a mean minimum of 19-20°C.