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Srinagar gets season’s first snowfall

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Srinagar: Srinagar and other plain areas of Kashmir received this winter’s first snowfall on Thursday, bringing cheer to the residents.

The snowfall in the plain areas began late Wednesday night and continued till the morning at most places, officials said.

“It started as a mix of rain and snow late last night in Srinagar and other adjoining areas in the plains and by the morning, the valley was covered under a blanket of snow,” they said.

Srinagar received around two inches of snowfall, Anantnag town four inches, Qazigund nine, Pahalgam 10, Pulwama town two, Kulgam town three, Shopian town five, Ganderbal town two, Baramulla town three, Kupwara town four, and Gulmarg 14 inches, the officials said.

The higher reaches received moderate to heavy snowfall, they added.

It is the season’s first snowfall in the plains of the Kashmir valley, including in the summer capital Srinagar, which had experienced little precipitation so far this winter in the form of rains, the officials said.

The Kashmir valley witnessed a prolonged dry spell this winter with most of the Chilla-i-Kalan — the 40 day harsh winter period, when the chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent — remaining dry.

While some areas in the higher reaches had received light snowfall, most of the upper reaches experienced moderate snowfall at the fag-end of the Chilla-i-Kalan.

The snowfall at the end of Chilla-i-Kalan brought cheers to the tourists as well as the locals associated with the tourism sector.

Thursday’s snowfall shut down the Srinagar-Jammu national highway as it was blocked due to shooting stones between Ramsoo and Banihal. The alternate Mughal road and the Srinagar-Leh highway are closed for traffic due to snow accumulation.

The MeT Office has said the weather would remain cloudy with light snow at few places till the afternoon and there would be a gradual improvement thereafter.

On Friday, the weather is likely to remain dry with a possibility of very light snow at isolated higher reaches.

There is a possibility of light to moderate snow/rain (in Jammu) at many places of J&K on February 03-04, and the weather is likely to remain dry thereafter till February 12, the weather office said.

Srinagar city recorded a minimum temperature of 0.2 degrees Celsius — down from 2.2 degrees Celsius on the previous night.

Pahalgam recorded a minimum temperature of minus 4.1 degrees Celsius, Qazigund minus 0.4 degrees Celsius, Kokernag minus 1.4 degrees Celsius and Kupwara minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

Gulmarg registered a low of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius and was the coldest place in the valley.

Jmu-Sgr highway closed for traffic, over 200 vehicles stranded

The Jammu-Srinagar national highway was closed for traffic on Thursday due to a landslip in Ramban district, leaving over 200 vehicles stranded.

The highway also witnessed fresh snowfall at several places.

The landslip took place in the Sherbibi area of the district, which also witnessed heavy rains, officials said.

“The road damaged near Sherbibi on Jammu-Srinagar highway and restoration work is about to start”, traffic police said on X.

Over 200 vehicles are stranded at different points of the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country.

They said work is on to reopen the highway for traffic but incessant rains in the Ramban-Banihal sector were proving to be an impediment.

The traffic police advised people to avoid travel on the highway till the weather improves and the road is clear.

Snowfall at Vaishnodevi shrine, rains in Jammu

High altitude areas of Jammu province, including the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district, received fresh snowfall on Thursday morning.

Officials said moderate to light rains also lashed the plains of the Jammu region.

“Fresh snowfall was witnessed in and around the Bhawan of Mata Vaishnodevi. The Trikuta hills area was covered with a blanket of snow this morning,” they said.

Bhairon Ghati and Himkoti in Trikuta hills and the serpentine route leading to the shrine also experienced snowfall, they said.

Despite the snowfall, the pilgrimage to the temple remained unaffected, with hundreds of pilgrims departing from the Katra base camp this morning.

Apart from Vaishno Devi, the mountains of Kishtwar, Doda, Reasi, Ramban, Kathua, Rajouri, and Poonch, including the Mughal Road, experienced snowfall.

Authorities have warned people about the potential risk of landslides and shooting stones on vulnerable spots along highways and urged them to avoid unnecessary travel.

The hills around the Patnitop hill resort also experienced snowfall.

In Jammu and Samba areas, rains accompanied by light winds marked the end of over a month of dry and chilly foggy conditions.

“Rains have ended the extreme cold conditions, providing relief to the residents,” a MeT official said.

Heavy snowfall and rain are forecasted in Kishtwar district, posing risks of landslides and disruptions on national highways and hilly roads, officials said.

Draped in white, the Shikaras and the Dal Lake present a mesmerizing look as Srinagar gets its first snowfall, though too late. Pic/Javed Khan

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