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Snow carpets Kashmir plains white

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Weather to remain mainly dry till December 20: MeT

See Naples (Srinagar) And Then Die: Snow, houseboats, Jehlum, Chinar trees and white carpeted mountains – this is how Srinagar looked on Saturday morning as sun tried to peep through the clouds. Photo/ Zahid Ali

Srinagar: Srinagarites woke up today to see the entire city carpeted white as the season’s first snowfall lashed the plains of the Kashmir Valley during the preceding night while the higher reaches received heavy snowfall.

“As expected, light to moderate snowfall occurred in plains of the Valley during the night while heavy snowfall occurred in the higher reaches of J&K and Ladakh,” an official of the Met department said.

“There would be improvement in the overall weather condition from today onwards. No major snowfall is expected till December 20 during which the weather is expected to remain mainly dry,” the official added.

Snowfall began late on Friday night in most parts of Kashmir and just after midnight in Srinagar city, which received 3 inches of snow. Gulmarg received over a foot of fresh snowfall.

Owing to the overnight snowfall, all major highways including the Srinagar-Jammu, Srinagar-Leh and the Mughal Road were closed for traffic on Saturday.

There was fresh snowfall of nearly a foot in the Bannihal sector of the 270 km Srinagar-Jammu highway, officials said. Nine inches of snow had accumulated on the ground at the Jawahar Tunnel of the highway and the road is blocked at several points due to landslides following rains in Marog, Magerkote and Panthiyal, they said.

Efforts are afoot to ensure early restoration of traffic on the strategic road that links the Kashmir with the Jammu region, the officials said.

They said that agencies concerned have pressed men and machine to clear the vital road.

The Mughal Road, an alternative route connecting Poonch and Rajouri districts in the Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Shopian district, was closed for traffic on December 08 following heavy snowfall in Pee Ki Gali and adjoining areas.

The road along with several other high-altitude routes, including the Simthan Top connecting Kishtwar district in the Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, usually remain closed during winter months owing to heavy snowfall.

Reports of three to nine inches of snowfall was received from different parts of Kishtwar district, including Marwah (seven inches), Warwan (nine), Machail (seven), Ishtiyari (five) and Kishtwar, Paddar and Dachin (four inches each), the officials said.

In Doda district, the officials said, eight families were moved to safer locations after heavy rains triggered shooting stones and landslides at Gurmul village in Kastigarh.

The families have been provided accommodation and relief material, including bedding, by the district administration, they said.

It was a sunny day in Jammu city after overnight rains.

The divisional administration of the Valley pressed men and machinery into service in the early hours of the day to clear snow from the roads and restore electricity in the areas affected due to snowfall, the officials said.

During the day, as sun came out of the cloud cover, melting snow led to water-logging of many roads and streets in Srinagar and the countryside, which added to the problems of the pedestrians. Vehicular movement was also slowed down considerably, leading to frustrating traffic snarls and jams along some major arteries and busy traffic junctions.

Meanwhile, the minimum temperature was minus 0.6 degree Celsius in Srinagar, minus 0.9 in Pahalgam and minus 4 degree Celsius in Gulmarg on Saturday.

Jammu city had 10.3, Katra 8.6, Batote minus 0.7, Bannihal 0.2 and Bhaderwah minus 0.4 degree Celsius as the night’s lowest temperatures.

Leh town of Ladakh recorded minus 6.1, Kargil minus 3 and Drass minus 6.3 degree Celsius as the minimum temperature on Saturday.

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