Kashmir under fresh snow cover
Weather to improve from today: MeT
Srinagar: Many parts of Kashmir, including Srinagar, received fresh snowfall on Saturday, the third time this month, even as the minimum temperatures across the Valley increased due to an overcast sky, officials said.
Earlier, Kashmir had received heavy snowfall for over four days from January 3 and moderate snowfall on January 9.
The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir received about 10 inches of snow, the officials said.
Kupwara, also in the north, received three inches of snow, Qazigund in south Kashmir received about one cm and Srinagar 0.2 cm, they said.
There are reports of snowfall in other areas in the higher reaches of the Valley and Jammu region including on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the officials said.
The Meteorological Department here has forecast light to moderate snowfall at scattered to widespread places in the plains of Kashmir and hilly areas of Jammu along with rain and thunder in the plains of Jammu till the forenoon on Sunday.
It said there is a possibility of heavy snowfall at isolated places over the Valley, especially in the higher reaches. After this, the weather department said, the weather is likely to remain mainly dry till the end of this month.
Meanwhile, the night temperatures increased across the Valley due to the cloudy sky, bringing some relief to residents from the intense cold wave conditions.
The minimum temperature at most places in the Valley last night was above the normal for this time of the season, the officials said.
Srinagar city recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius, up from minus 6.1 degrees Celsius the previous night.
The minimum temperature in Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district settled at minus 4.8 degrees Celsius last night, up from minus 6 degrees Celsius the night before.
Pahalgam, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius, over five notches up from the previous night’s minus 7.0 degrees Celsius.
The night temperature in Pahalgam was over six notches above the normal for this time of the season.
Qazigund recorded a minimum temperature of 4 degrees Celsius, the official said.
Kupwara recorded a low of minus 0.4 degrees Celsius while Kokernag recorded a low of minus 4.5 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director MeT, Mukhtar confirmed that the weather would start gradually improving across the Valley from midnight while from Sunday afternoon complete improvement in the prevalent weather conditions would be seen.
Kashmir is currently in the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’, a 40-day period of harshest winter when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies including the famous Dal Lake here and the water supply lines.
The chances of snowfall are the maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.
While ‘Chillai-Kalan’ began on December 21 and will end on January 31, the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
Flight services hit, Traffic suspended on Jammu-Srinagar NH
Srinagar: The air traffic to and fro Kashmir was affected on Saturday in the wake of snowfall in most parts of the valley, officials said.
The snowfall began early in the morning and was continuing when the last reports came in. “No flight operations have taken place at the Srinagar airport so far this morning,” an official said. He added that the runway at the airport was not available for flight operations due to the accumulation of snow.
“It is still snowing and hence, it is difficult to clear the runway for flight operations,” the official said.
Several flights have been delayed due to the snowfall, officials said. A decision on the resumption of flight operations would be taken as and when the weather improves, they added.
Traffic on the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway was suspended on Saturday following fresh snowfall in high-altitude areas, including on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway to the Kashmir valley, officials said.
ADGP Traffic T.Namgyal said that traffic was suspended on the Highway in view of continuous snowfall.
“No vehicle was allowed to move on the highway today after the intensity of snowfall increased,” Namgyal said.
“The Traffic will remain also suspended on 24 January as well,” he confirmed.
“No vehicular movement shall be allowed on Jammu-Srinagar NHW from either side in view of shooting stones/mudslides at several places on NHW, snow accumulation around the Jawahar Tunnel and inclement weather prediction issued by MeT department,” a communiqué issued by Traffic Police said.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Shamsher Singh said the slippery condition of the road on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel forced the suspension of traffic on the highway around 11 am.
“The snowfall started on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel in the early hours of Saturday and so far, around four inches of snow have accumulated on the ground,” he told PTI.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) pressed its men and machines into service to clear the road of snow, but the continuous snowfall and the slippery conditions are hampering their efforts, the officer said, adding that over 100 vehicles had managed to cross the Jawahar Tunnel before the traffic on the highway was suspended.
The closure of the highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, left hundreds of vehicles stranded on the stretch between Udhampur and Banihal.
One-way traffic was allowed from Jammu towards Srinagar as vehicles on the road ply alternatively between the twin capitals of Jammu and Kashmir in view of the ongoing work of the four-lane highway project.
SMC deputes 74 snow clearance machines in city
Srinagar: Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) deputed 74 snow clearance machines for snow clearance purpose in the city after the fresh snowfall that started Saturday morning and continued till late.
Mayor Srinagar, Junaid Azim Mattu, reportedly, directed the fleet to primarily focus on clearance of important stretches leading to hospitals, health facilities, religious places, main roads and other vital destinations in the city.
Besides the Mayor, Chief Sanitation Officer, Chief Transport Officer, Chief Enforcement Officer, Xen Mech, Chairman Public Health and Sanitation, Enforcement Officer Central, Enforcement Officers were present at the municipality yard as the fleet of snow clearance machines were being sent off.