MeT Predicts Another Wet Spell In Kashmir From Saturday

Boys play cricket on a snow covered road in Kashmir. File Photo Abid Bhat / KO

SRINAGAR - The weather department has predicted another spell of wet weather in the Kashmir Valley from Saturday, even as sun played hide and seek though ice cold winds continued in the summer capital, Srinagar and other parts of the valley on Wednesday.

A Met department spokesperson said that light rain or snow would occur at some places in the valley during the next 24 hours. “The weather will remain dry on Thursday and Friday which would result in improvement in the day temperature though mercury during the night will dip,” he said.

However, he said a fresh Western Disturbance (WD), which originated from the Arabian Sea and is approaching the region though Afghanistan and Pakistan, will hit the region on Saturday.

“Under the influence of this WD, rain and would occur at many places in the valley for the subsequent 72 hours from Saturday,” he added.

After witnessing above normal night temperature, people woke up to a chill Wednesday morning in Srinagar. However, as the day progressed, sun played hide and seek though ice cold winds continued in Srinagar, where people could be seen wearing warm clothes, including jackets, to evade chilly weather condition. Burning of wood on roadsides by mechanics and auto-drivers is a common sight in the city, where the night temperature settled at minus 0.4 degree.

He said the skies will be mainly clear to partly cloudy during the next 24 hours in Srinagar, where the maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 6 degree and minus 4 degree, respectively.

Meanwhile, the night temperature improved and settled above normal at majority of the places due to overcast conditions in the valley.

Drass was the coldest places in the region at minus 10.7 degree, followed by Leh, where the night temperature improved about a degree from Tuesday and settled at minus 9.6 degree.

The world famous ski resort of Gulmarg, where ski slopes are covered under several feet of snow, was the only place in the valley where the mercury dipped about 1.6 degree from Tuesday and settled at minus 7.6 degree. The ski resort was the coldest place in the valley.

Sun played hide and seek though ice cold winds continued in Gulmarg, where tourists, including adventure lovers, were out on the ski slopes enjoying different snow related activities.

The mercury at would famous health resort of Pahalgam, about 100 km from here in south Kashmir, improved about 2 degree from Tuesday and settled at minus 2 degree.

The night temperature at Kupwara in north Kashmir and Qazigund, gateway to the valley, also improved and settled at minus 2.2 degree and minus 0.4 degree, respectively.

Thousands Stranded At Banihal Highway

The Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, remained closed for the second day on Wednesday due to fresh landslides at several places leaving hundreds of passengers and truckers stranded.

Meanwhile, over 40 vehicles carrying passengers, which were stranded in Jawahar tunnel, were rescued and taken to Qazigund, gateway of Kashmir on the highway. However, over 500 passengers besides truckers had to spent chilly night in their vehicles while about 5000 others were provided shelter in schools and railway sheds at Banihal.

There was no chance of resuming traffic this winter on the 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) Ladakh with Kashmir valley, which remained closed for the past 29 days on Wednesday due to accumulation of over five feet snow and slippery condition. After Ladakh become UT it was decided to keep the Zojila pass, the most trouble spot on Srinagar-Leh highway open throughout the year.

People at Kargil, Drass and other remote areas in the Ladakh region alleged that authorities failed to stock enough stock for winter. However, authorities denied the allegations and said enough stock of all essentials, including rice, atta, sugar, oil, diesel and LPG, was available.

The historic 86-km-long Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region and Anantnag-Kishtwar road also remained closed for the past 29 days.  There is no possibility of reopening of the road before April-May.

Traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained suspended for the second consecutive day on Wednesday following fresh landslides , a traffic police official said this morning. Though there was no fresh snowfall and rain since last evening, but there were fresh landslides and shooting stones at Digdol, Mompassi and Monkey mode, he said adding the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has already pressed into service sophisticated machines to clear the landslides and snow. However, continued shooting stones was hampering the clearance operation, he said.

He said once highway is put through, only stranded vehicles will be allowed to move towards their respective destinations.

Meanwhile, over 40 vehicles, carrying passengers, got struck in the Jawahar tunnel yesterday. However, the authorities launched rescue operation and all the stranded vehicles were taken to Qazigund, official sources said.

They said about 5000 passengers, including women and children besides elderly persons, were accommodated in schools and other government accommodation besides in Railway sheds and halls at Banihal.

However, over 500 passengers had to spent the night in their vehicles. Truckers alleged that they are facing acute shortage of water, wash room and other essentials commodities.

Frequent closure of the highway due to daily landslides and shooting stones, particularly between Ramban and Ramsu since the NHAI started road widening, has resulted in price rise of essentials, particularly fresh vegetables. (With Inputs From Agencies)

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