The state of Jammu and Kashmir stretches between 32.17o to 36.58o North and the altitude rises steeply from 305 metres to 6910 metres above sea level. There are the hot plains of the Jammu Province and coldest dry tableland of Ladakh. The area has different weather conditions at different places because of the lofty mountains like the Pirpanjal, the Zanskar and the Karakoram that check the moisture-laden from entering the valleys.
In summers, the outer plains and the outer hills receive rainfall from
monsoon winds while in winters, winds from the Mediterranean cause
snowfall and rainfall in the Valley of Kashmir. The moisture-laden winds
cause rainfall in the forests on the hills making the temperature to
fall in summer; hence, the thickly wooded areas such as Pahalgam and
Gulmarg have milder weather conditions than that of Srinagar or Sopore.
Similarly, the climate of the valley of Kashmir is comparatively milder
than that of the Outer Plains as it is on higher altitude.
The unique climatic conditions found in the zone of the Middle
Mountains and its valleys, are determined by the altitude, which in turn
determines the degree of coolness and elevation the form of
precipitation and summer temperature. Winters are cold and of long
duration and with increasing altitude, it gets colder still, till there
is snowfall in the higher mountains. Summers, however, are milder but
are very short. Winters last from November to March. Spring begins after
15th of March and there is heavy rainfall during the season. Landslides
often take place during this season. Humidity in the monsoon season
stretching over July and August is as high as 70% and with increasing
temperature in summers can be uncomfortable. During this season, the
entire valley is covered with a thick fog blocking the surrounding
mountains from view.
The seasons are marked with sudden change and a year can be roughly
divided into six seasons of two months each:
1. Spring - From March 15 to May 15.
2. Summer - From May 15 to July 15.
3. Rainy Season - From July 15 to Sept. 15.
4. Autumn - From Sept. 15 to Nov. 15.
5. Winter - From Nov. 15 to Jan 15.
6. Ice Cold - From Jan. 15 to March 15.