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Kashmir receives fresh snowfall, heavy rain

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Wet weather forces temporary closure of Sgr-Jmu highway

                                Photo/Javed Khan

Srinagar, Mar 20: Kashmir, including Srinagar city, Wednesday received a fresh spell of snowfall-- a rare occurrence in the month of March in recent years-- as overnight rainfall caused water logging in many parts of the city.

Heavy rainfall in plains and snowfall in higher reaches began during the night and continued till around noon of Wednesday, a MET department official said.

He said Srinagar also received moderate snowfall for nearly two hours.

The rains and snowfall led to accumulation of water on many roads while low-lying areas in the city were inundated.

The administration used mobile pumps to drain the excess water accumulated on the city roads especially in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and surrounding areas.

The downpour also caused the mercury to fall, leading to winter-like chill in the Valley.

Light to moderate rainfall has been forecast in the Valley over the next six days.

Meanwhile, over 2,200 vehicles crossed Jawahar Tunnel - the gateway to the Kashmir valley - even as fresh snowfall in higher reaches and rains in plains disrupted smooth movement of traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway on Wednesday, officials said.

Kashmir-bound traffic on the 270-km highway was stopped at Udhampur this morning but was later allowed as the weather improved, traffic department official said.

He said 2,296 vehicles, including 983 light motor vehicles and 31 buses, crossed Jawahar Tunnel till 7 pm.

The traffic on the highway would be allowed from Jammu to Srinagar on Thursday as well to facilitate stranded vehicles, mostly trucks, to reach their destination besides the passenger vehicles which returned to Jammu this morning.

The traffic on the highway plies alternatively from the twin capitals of Jammu and Srinagar in view of the ongoing work on the four-laning project.

Light snowfall was recorded at Jawahar Tunnel and its peripheral areas while rest of the highway was lashed by incessant rains, triggering rolling down of stones from the hillock overlooking the highway near Panthiyal. It forced suspension of the traffic in the morning, the officials said.

With the improvement in the weather, the authorities concerned pressed men and machinery into service and cleared the road of the accumulated debris, paving way for the resumption of the traffic, the officials said.

They said the traffic was, however, disrupted several times during the day affecting the smooth movement of the vehicles.

About four inches of snowfall was reported from high altitude areas while the plains, including Jammu, were lashed by rains since Tuesday night, resulting in considerable drop in the mercury, they said.

The weatherman had predicted light to moderate snow in the higher reaches and rains in the plains during the day with very light rains at a few places on Thursday.

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