JAMMU / SRINAGAR The mercury in Jammu and Kashmir marked a sharp dip on Saturday as intermittent rains lashed wide parts of the state for the third consecutive day, disrupting traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and claiming the life of an elderly woman, officials said.
The weatherman has issued an alert, predicting adverse weather to continue for the next 24 hours.
The maxiumum temperature in winter capital Jammu settled at 28.6 degrees Celsius, five notches below the season’s average, a MeT office spokesman said.
The minimum temperature in the city was recorded at 23.9 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s 25.6 degree Celsius, which is 1.5 degrees below normal, he added.
Similarly, the day temperature in summer capital Srinagar was 4.8 degrees below season’s average at 24.7 degrees Celsius.
Srinagar recorded a night temperature of 17.7 degrees Celsius, which is one degree below the normal, the spokesman said.
He said Jammu recorded 38.2 mm of rainfall during the day, while the weather remained mostly cloudy in Srinagar.
The intermittent rains since Wednesday increased the water level in all water bodies, including rivers, lakes and streams, but there was no immediate threat of floods, officials said.
An 82-year-old woman was killed and her son seriously injured when a rain-triggered landslide hit their mud house in Doda district early Saturday, police said.
Over two dozen sheep were also killed in the incident, which took place in the Baggar area of the hilly district, SP (Operations), Doda, Ravinder Pal Singh said.
The officials said rolling stones from hillocks damaged two passenger cabs near Battery Cheshma along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway which was briefly closed for vehicular traffic in the afternoon.
Rolling down of stones from the hillocks overlooking the highway and mudslides occurred at several places, including Panthiyal, Iron stand Digdole, Battery Cheshma, Anokhi fall and Kelamorh, along the 270-km highway, forcing suspension of the traffic for several hours, they said.
Issuing an alert, director of state meteorological department Sonam Lotus said the intermittent moderate to heavy rains over the past couple of days had left the soil saturated and additional rain may trigger landslides, flash floods and mudslides.
“General public and the state administration are requested to remain cautious for the next few days as weather is adverse and likely to remain so over the next 24 hours,” Lotus said.
Amarnath Yatra resumes after daylong suspension
A day after the Amarnath Yatra from Jammu to Kashmir was suspended due to inclement weather, a fresh batch of nearly 4,000 pilgrims left a base camp here on Saturday to offer prayers at the cave shrine of Lord Shiva, officials said.
The yatra from Jammu city to Kashmir on the Baltal route in Ganderbal district was suspended on Friday after heavy rains rendered the track unsafe.
The 25th batch of pilgrims, including 17 children, 785 women and 240 sadhus, left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in a fleet of 165 vehicles amid tight security in the early hours despite rains, the officials said.
Large parts of Jammu and Kashmir have been lashed by rains for three days now.
According to the officials, the pilgrims are expected to reach the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal later in the day.
While 2,318 pilgrims are heading for the Pahalgam base camp, the remaining 1,608 would undertake the yatra from the Baltal track, they said.
So far, 29 pilgrims, two ‘sevadaars’ (volunteers) and two security personnel deployed along the yatra route have died, the officials said.
Three pilgrims have died enroute to the cave in the last two days due to high altitude sickness, they added.
Deaths due to cardiac arrest triggered by lack of oxygen in the area around the cave shrine have been common over the years, prompting the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to issue regular health advisories to pilgrims.
Forty pilgrims have taken ill or sustained injuries due to shooting stones and other causes since the commencement of the pilgrimage on July 1.
The number of pilgrims who have paid obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas this year has already crossed the three-lakh mark. Till Friday, 3,14,584 pilgrims have visited the shrine.
Last year, 2.85 lakh pilgrims had visited the shrine.
The 46-day yatra is scheduled to end on August 15, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.