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Fresh snowfall drapes Valley in white robes

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Photo/Javed Khan

Srinagar, Jan 16: People of Kashmir got some relief from the intense cold conditions as night temperatures rose by several degrees in anticipation of fresh snowfall which began on Wednesday.

Fresh snowfall began at many places across the Valley including Srinagar, breaking the intense cold wave conditions.

Pahalgam, tourist resort recorded three cm of fresh snow last night, an official a MeT official said.

The night temperature rose across Kashmir owing to a cloudy sky, he said.

The minimum temperature in Srinagar rose over three degrees from minus 5.8 degrees Celsius on the previous night to settle at minus 2.1 degrees Celsius Tuesday night, the official said.

He said Qazigund – the gateway town to the Valley – in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.9 degrees – up by over four degrees from minus 7.2 degrees Celsius on the previous night.

The nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 3.0 degrees Celsius Tuesday night – down from minus 7.2 degrees Celsius.

The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius as against the Monday night’s minus 7.7 degrees Celsius, the official said.

Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.0 degrees Celsius Tuesday night – an increase of four degrees from the Monday night.

Pahalgam tourist resort recorded a low of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius – an increase of over eight degrees from the previous night’s minus 12.3 degrees Celsius, the official said.

The official said the data for Ladakh region was not available.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ – the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are believed to be most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.

‘Chillai-Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chilla-Bachha’ (baby cold).

Meanwhile, overcast conditions led to an increase in the night temperature across the Jammu region as well.

The minimum temperature in Jammu city appreciated by several notches to settle at 6.2 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s 3.5 degrees Celsius, a spokesman of the Meteorological Department (MeT) said.

Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, recorded a low of 7 degrees Celsius, an increase of 1.7 degrees Celsius from the previous night, he said.

The snow-bound Bhadarwah township in Doda district, which was reeling under sub-zero temperature, recorded a minimum of 0.6 degrees Celsius, while Banihal and Batote along Jammu-Srinagar national highway recorded a night temperature of 1.6 and 3.1 degrees Celsius, respectively, the spokesman said.

The increase in the minimum temperature was due to the overcast conditions, the spokesman said, adding that the maximum temperature is likely to dip across the region as the sun remains behind clouds.

The weatherman has predicted another spell of wet weather in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Another snow spell of stronger intensity is expected around January 19 to January 23 with peak activity on January 22,” the spokesman said.

Snowfall forces flight cancellation in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 16: The air traffic in Kashmir was suspended Wednesday due to bad weather conditions, forcing cancellation of 22 flights, an official said.

“The flight operations at Srinagar airport were hit today due to bad weather in the wake of snowfall,” an official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said.

He said the snowfall which intensified towards the afternoon forced the cancellation of 22 flights.

“Five flights were able to operate in the morning. However, due to bad weather, it was not possible to operate other flights – leading to the cancellation of 22 flights,” the official added.

Meanwhile, Traffic Police also issued an advisory for the motorists in the wake of fresh snowfall, urging them to drive slow, avoid sudden brakes, fast turning and overtaking, follow traffic rules, minimize use of two-wheelers and keep distance.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan also issued fresh avalanche warning for nine avalanche-prone districts of Kashmir division today.

The warning has been issued for the avalanche-prone areas of Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh districts.

As per the hand-out, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has directed the Deputy Commissioners of all these districts to advise the people living in avalanche-prone areas not to venture out to avoid any untoward incident.

The Div Com also directed the concerned DCs to take all the precautionary measures and to keep the SDRF, Police and Para-medical staff with ambulances in readiness to avert any untoward incident.

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