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Weatherman forecasts cold week for Kashmir

Heavy hailstorm in many south and north Kashmir areas Wednesday caused massive damage to fruit blossoms.

Updated: Apr 26, 2012, 14:00 PM IST

Srinagar: The cold weather would continue for at least another week across the Kashmir Valley, said the weather office here on Thursday.

"The present weather system is likely to continue for another week. There will be occasional sunshine with intermittent periods of rain and thunder, especially towards the evenings," Sonam Lotus, director of the local weather office, told a news agency.

"Wednesday`s day temperature was warm. There was enough moisture in the atmosphere. But the system was highly unstable which gave rise to convective activity, resulting in hailstorm," Lotus said.

Heavy hailstorm in many south and north Kashmir areas Wednesday caused massive damage to fruit blossoms, threatening this year`s fruit crop of cherry, apple, peach, almond and apricot.

"Some of the best apples in Kashmir are produced in south Kashmir`s Shopian district, where Wednesday`s hailstorm caused massive damage to the apple trees," said Manzoor Ahmad, an orchardist in south Kashmir.

Hailstorm also lashed some areas in north Kashmir`s Ganderbal and Kupwara districts.

"I had to sweep the accumulated hailstorm from my small apple orchard, where it was nearly six inches deep," said Ghulam Muhammad Rather, 43, who lives in Ganderbal district.

"Since the temperature is down now, we are not expecting any hailstorm for the next few days," Lotus maintained.

Thursday`s minimum temperature in Srinagar was 9.6 degrees Celsius, a degree above what is normal for this time of the year. While Pahalgam recorded 7.3 degrees, it was near-freezing point at 0.6 degree in Gulmarg, and 3.4 degrees Celsius in Leh and Kargil towns, said another official of the weather department.

The hailstorms are unlikely to affect the paddy sowing operations in the valley, but the fruit trees such as apple, cherry, peach, apricot and almond are highly vulnerable to it.