Moderate snowfall in the famous tourist resort of Gulmarg and higher reaches of Kashmir on Friday saw the mercury plunging by 10 degrees in the Valley as the residents braced for a long period of cold this year after a relatively dry winter last year.
Moderate snowfall was witnessed in Gulmarg, where nearly six inches of snow has accumulated, while snowfall was heavier in the higher mountain reaches at many places in the Valley, officials said.
The officials said Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, received rainfall throughout the day, bringing a sharp decline in the maximum temperature.
Srinagar city recorded a maximum temperature of 8.6 degrees Celsius, which was 10.7 degrees below the normal for this time of the year, an official of the Meteorological department said.
Gulmarg, the north Kashmir skiing resort, recorded a high of 0.4 degrees Celsius, a drop of nearly 12 degrees for this time, the official said.
He said the sudden drop in the day temperature was one of the reasons behind early snowfall.
All other weather stations in the Valley also saw the day temperature drop around 10 degrees Celsius below normal, with Kokernag in south Kashmir recording a deviation of 9.2 degrees Celsius below normal.
The snowfall and rains in the Valley has brought an early winter chill, forcing the people to bring out woolens earlier than expected.
"We have no complaints. This is a good omen if we have good snowfall this winter after a prolonged dry winter last season," Shabir Ahmad, a city resident, said.
Tourism industry players are also upbeat that a good snowfall this winter will boost the arrivals to the Valley.
"There are many tourists from rest of the country and abroad who come for skiing or just experiencing the snow. Hopefully, this winter will have plenty of it," Shoaib Ahmad, a travel agent, said.
The weatherman has forecast widespread downpour in the Valley on Saturday and scattered precipitation on Sunday.
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com