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Fresh snowfall affects electricity, surface and air traffic in Kashmir

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Srinagar: Life in Kashmir was disrupted on the final day of the ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ on Monday as fresh snowfall snapped the Valley’s connections with the rest of the world, affecting surface and air traffic, besides the electricity supply, officials said.

Moderate to heavy snowfall was recorded in the plains of Kashmir, while the higher reaches experienced heavy to very heavy falls, they said.

The officials said Srinagar received about seven inches of fresh snowfall, Gulmarg more than a foot, Pahalgam nine inches, Gurez 1.5 feet and the plains of Kupwara district around four inches. In the upper reaches, it was around one-two feet.

They said the snowfall started late Sunday night in most places and continued till the last reports came in.

The snowfall brought normal life to a halt and snapped electricity supply to many areas, as also the Valley’s connection with the rest of the world, the officials said.

“Following heavy snowfall during the night, electric supply to many areas of the valley got disrupted and the load of the whole valley dipped below 850 MWs during the early morning hours of January 30,” officials said.

They said out of total 33 KV feeders, 14 were under fault along with four 33 KV Taplines which affected the power supply mainly to Sopore, Kupwara and Handwara areas of Kashmir Valley. 

Few portions of District Budgam and of District Anantnag were also affected due to the outage of four (out of 14) 33 KV lines.  Around 215 11 KV feeders also developed snags due to snowfall, they said, adding that the efforts are on to restore supply.

The Srinagar-Jammu national highway was closed for traffic due to snow and landslides at many places along the arterial road.

The 270-kilometer-long highway was blocked by mudslides and shooting stones between Chanderkote and Banihal in the district, they said.

As a result of this, 300 vehicles are stranded at different points of the highway, the officials said, adding that workers and machinery have been deployed to clear the area.

Train services on the Baramulla-Banihal route were suspended due to accumulation of snow on the tracks, they added.

The officials said the bad weather affected air traffic to and from the Valley as flight operations at the Srinagar airport were suspended. Visibility is very poor and there is snow accumulation on the runway, they said.

“All flights to and from Kashmir were cancelled on Monday due to bad weather and moderate to heavy snowfall across the Valley,” officials said.

The continuous snowfall reduced visibility to below 500 metres, leading to the cancellations of all the 68 scheduled flights at the Srinagar airport.

The meteorological department predicted heavy snowfall, and rains with thunderstorms in the plains of Jammu, over the next 12 hours.

Expect gradual decrease in the precipitation from Monday night, it said.

Meanwhile, the minimum temperature improved across the Valley but stayed below the freezing point.

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