Kashmir Witnesses Snowfall For Third Consecutive Day

A man clears snow from his vehicle during fresh snowfall in Srinagar. KO Photo: Abid Bhat

SRINAGAR - Kashmir witnessed snowfall for the third consecutive day on Tuesday as residents of the valley continued to experience warmer than usual night temperature.

"Light to moderate snowfall has been going on intermittently across Kashmir, including Srinagar city," an official of the MeT department said.

However, flight operations to and fro Srinagar airport were going on as per schedule, an official of the Airport Authority of India said.

The snowfall has resulted in night temperature staying closer to freezing point in the city for the second consecutive night, he said.

Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.5 degrees Celsius on Monday night.

The official said the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded the low of minus 6.0 degrees Celsius last night 2.0 degrees up from Monday.

The night temperature at Pahalgam resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 3.9 degrees Celsius nearly a degree down from minus 3.0 degrees Celsius on Monday, he said.

Qazigund the gateway town to the valley - in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 1.3 degree Celsius, he said.

Kokernag town, also in south, recorded a low of minus 4.5 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in north, registered the minimum of minus 1.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' - the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.

'Chillai-Kalan' began on December 21 and ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).

Srinagar-Jammu Highway Remains Closed

The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was closed for the second day on Tuesday amid snowfall and landslides at several places in Ramban district, traffic department officials said.

Snowfall is continuing at many places including Jawahar Tunnel - the gateway to Kashmir valley, while rains triggered multiple landslides along Panthiyal-Ramsu stretch overnight, hampering efforts of early restoration of the highway, the officials said.

Vehicular traffic on the highway was suspended on Monday evening after snowfall and landslides, leaving over 600 vehicles stranded between Ramban and Banihal.

About eight inches of snow had accumulated on the ground in Jawahar Tunnel area since Monday, the officials said adding the shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the highway was continuing at Panthiyal, Digdole, Maroog and Moumpassi.

"The reopening of the highway for vehicular traffic depends on the improvement in the weather and stopping of rocks sliding from the hills. The men and machines are ready to clear the highway of the debris," they said.

The weatherman has forecast significant improvement in weather from Tuesday evening but said another spell of snowfall and rains is likely to hit Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh between January 12-13.

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