When heavy rains prompted flash floods in parts of Jammu on Wednesday morning, the residents of Kashmir grew anxious as they believed a severe calamity has hit the valley.
The visuals showing overflowing rivers in Jammu's Rajouri and a number of bridges and roads suffering partial damage did the rounds on social media and further fueled panic amongst Kashmiris. The situation worsened after a landslide in the Kotli area of Rajouri, Jammu killed a 35-year-old man.
Furthermore, the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) prediction of a 72-hour long wet spell across the Union Territory did not help.
"Widespread light to moderate rainfall is expected in Kashmir division on August 26, 27. The wet spell is likely to reduce the rainfall deficit witnessed in J&K and Ladakh this year. The inclement weather "may lead to disruption of traffic on 270-kilometer Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, Srinagar-Leh National Highway, Mughal Road and Sadhna Pass," the IMD's weather advisory said.
A flash flood is caused by excessive rainfall over a short period of time and generally subsides within 6 hours without inflicting serious damage.
J&K government assures situation is under control in Kashmir
Sensing the fear among the people of Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir government clarified that the valley has not been struck by any calamity and also assured that there is nothing to worry about as the chances of a flood are extremely low. It further asserted that the administration is well-prepared to deal with adverse conditions.
Divisional Commissioner Paduranga Pole, IAS, told IBTimes that the predicted rainfall will actually benefit the agriculture sector and that the Kashmiris do not need to fear at all.
"Around 30-40 per cent rainfall shortage in the current year is there in all the districts of the valley. Moisture content in soil is generally low at this stage. There are rain requirements. So if the rain forecast by the IMD comes true, it will only fulfil the shortfall. It will be beneficial to agriculture and will also increase water availability for drinking water and other usages," said Pole.
Further, about the flood situation, he said, "So far, the flood situation apprehension is there but it is less likely given the moisture deficit of soil. Still, the administration is prepared for any eventuality."