As the sun sinks below the equator, bringing spring warmth to the southern hemisphere, it opens the door to the first signs of autumn snow in the continents of the north.

For some, this is anticipated joy - particularly for those who love winter sports.

To others, however, it is a travel hindrance and a commercial nuisance.

Key route blocked

The arterial Mughal Road in India's northern Jammu and Kashmir states has been blocked for the past five days, following the first snowfall of the season.

The Mughal Road is a crucial trade route, as it offers the shortest way to Kashmir, connecting Shopian in southern Kashmir with the Rajouri and Poonch districts in the Jammu region.

It was reopened on Sunday.

Snow amid heavy smog

In the east of Asia, China's northeast has just seen snow fall through smog. From Hebei, through Beijing, to Jilin, pollution, partly from coal fires, has not been thinned much by the falling of snow, making it doubly difficult for residents.

Changchun City in China's Jilin province saw its first snow of the year, falling through thick smog, on Sunday afternoon.

Visibilities of less than 300m slowed local road transport and air traffic at the Changchun Longjia Airport.

Heavy snow swept across Zhangjiakou, Hebei, on Friday evening, forcing all fast roads in the city to close. Snow collected on expressways to a depth of 20cm as the temperature dropped to -5C.

On Saturday morning, all buses from the Zhangjiakou bus station to neighbouring cities were suspended.

Winter landscape

Across the Pacific, northern California had a generally better experience at the start of the snow season.

All the same, state highway 180 became treacherous, and vehicles needed to use chains as 17cm of snow fell on Sunday. The High Sierra now looks like a winter landscape, and the ski resorts have opened.

Central and southern California have been teased by a little snow in the Rockies, and there is the prospect for something more significant.

This year's El Nino is expected to bring plenty of rain and snow to southern California in particular.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies