Snowfall paralyses life in Valley

Highway closed, train service suspended, air traffic hit, KU postpones exams

SRINAGAR: Normal life across Kashmir Valley was badly hit due to heavy snowfall since Wednesday night, leading to the closure of crucial Srinagar-Jammu highway and suspension of air and rail traffic.

In Srinagar, people preferred to stay indoors as the government offices witnessed thin attendance and shops in many areas also remained closed. The University officials also decided to postpone the scheduled examinations till further orders.

The snowfall began during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday after light rainfall and the locals woke up to a white blanket of snow. The valley had also received snowfall on the eve of new year. The snow continued to fall in Srinagar City till Wednesday afternoon while in certain parts of Kashmir Valley, it was snowing Although season’s second heavy snowfall brought much relief to the people from the persistent cold wave and in many parts of snow covered capital tourists staying in hotels and houseboats came out in open to enjoy the flakes. 

However snowfall also brought its share of miseries for the people of the Valley with it. It not only disrupted vehicular movement on roads but also affected electricity and water supply in the Valley. A Power Development Department official said that electricity supply in the valley was disrupted as the snow snapped the power lines. Barring few odd areas of Srinagar city,  Kashmir Valley was plunged into darkness.

The heavy snowfall also prompted the authorities to close Srinagar-Jammu highway for traffic as the snowfall led to slippery road conditions at Digdol, Khooni Nallah, and Panthal, even as the officials of Beacon made hectic efforts to clear the strategic highway. The closure of the highway left hundreds of vehicles, including passenger vehicles and load carriers stranded along the the 300-km mountainious road.

“We have suspended traffic on the highway due to heavy snowfall last night and today. We have been able to clear most of the stranded vehicles, however, dozens of vehicles, including passenger buses were stopped at Ramban due to landslides triggered by incessant rains and snow. Efforts were on to clear them,” a senior traffic police official said.

The continuous snowfall and poor visibility also led to the cancellation of all inbound and outbound flights from Srinagar airport. The Banihal-Qazigund train service was also suspended due to bad weather conditions.

The capital city recorded 1 ft of fresh snowfall till evening, while Qazigund recorded 1 ft, Pahalgam 3 ft, Kokernag 3ft, Banihal 1.5 ft, and Jawahar Tunnel 2.5 ft of snow. The minimum temperate in Srinagar was recorded at minus 0.2 degree Celsius.

The ski resort of Gulmarg recorded 1 ft of snow as the minimum temperature was recorded at minus 3.4 degree Celsius. Pahalgam in south Kashmir recorded minimum temperature of minus 1.0 degree Celsius.

Meanwhile, the meteorological department has predicted more rains and snow across Kashmir in the next 24 hours.

The department stated that there would be no change in the weather in next 10 hours and after that the weather is likely to improve. The office informed further that such massive snowfall has been witnessed in valley after 12 years and avalanches and snow slides cannot be ruled out.

“Light to moderate snow/rain would occur at many places in Jammu and Kashmir,” an official of the MeT department said.

Meanwhile, Kashmir University has postponed all exams scheduled to be held from Wednesday January, 22, 2014 to January, 23, 2014. Fresh dates will be notified separately, PRO, Kashmir University, Showkat Shafi said. 

Reports said that heavy snowfall was also reported from Baramulla, Sopore, Pattan, Bandipore, Rafiabad, Ganderbal, Kangan, Sonamarag, Zojilla, Gagangeer, Kupwara, Lolab, Uri, Handwara, Budgam, Khansahab, Chadoora, Pulwama, Kakapora, Panpore, Tral, Awantipora, Anantnag, Bijbehara, Khanabal, Qazigund, Kulgam, Pahalgam, Gulmarag, Verinag and other parts of Kashmir Valley.

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