Heavy Snowfall Blocks Highways in Kashmir, Shuts Srinagar Airport

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A man rides bicycle on snow covered road during fresh snowfall in Srinagar on Monday. KO Photo: Abid Bhat

SRINAGAR –  Fresh snowfall in Kashmir threw life out of gear on Monday and forced cancellation of all inbound and outgoing flights from Srinagar airport and led to the suspension of traffic on the lone motorable road connecting Kashmir with rest of India.

It has been snowing heavily in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir since late last night.

All flights to and from Srinagar were cancelled due to accumulation of snow on the runway, an official of the Airport authority of India said.

Srinagar recorded 12 centimetre of snow, Gulmarg 27 cm, and Pahalgam 21.5 cm, a Met Department official told Kashmir Observer at 12 noon Monday.

In north Kashmir’s frontier Kupwara district, normal life remained paralyzed due to heavy snowfall in the region from the past two days. The plain areas in the district received nearly two feet snow while in the upper reaches, it was around four feet.

Meteorological Department Srinagar issued a Red Color warning of heavy to very heavy snow fall in Kashmir and Ladakh during next 24 hours. The department further predicted  scattered to isolated rain/snow during two subsequent days.

Another spell is expected on 17 and 18th January.

Srinagar recorded a night temperature of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius. The ski resort of Gulmarg was at minus 5 degrees, while Pahalgam settled at a minimum of minus 2.7 degrees Celsius.

Even though snowfall brought down temperatures across the Kashmir Valley, it piled up miseries for the common people.

The early morning snowfall and sleet later in the day led to waterlogging of most of the roads in the Srinagar city.

Scores of villages across Kashmir valley including remote areas like Gurez and Karnah in north Kashmir have been cut off after the link roads were blocked by the snow.

Electricity supply in many areas has been snapped due to the snowfall, reports added.

Traffic on the 270-kilometre Jammu-Srinagar national highway was suspended on Monday afternoon stranding thousands of people on the trecherous mountanious road at various places.

The traffic on the highway, which was allowed from Srinagar to Jammu this morning, was halted due to shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the arterial road at several places in Ramban district, a traffic department official said.

Heavy rains triggered the shooting of stones in Moumpassi, Digdole and Panthiyal areas this afternoon, forcing suspension of the traffic, the official said, adding snowfall is also continuing on the Kashmir side of the highway since Sunday including Jawahar Tunnel — the gateway to the valley.

“We are monitoring the situation and a decision to allow the traffic will depend on the stopping of shooting stones from the hillocks and the road clearance operation by the concerned agencies,” he said.

Entire Kargil district and some parts in Leh district in Ladakh region are also receiving heavy snow fall since last night.

Normal life in Kargil was disturbed due to snowfall. Vehicles remained off the roads due to slippery conditions. Vehicular movement between Leh and Kargil was also restricted.

Normal life was hit in Jammu due to incessant rains since Monday morning, marring the Lohri and Makar Sankranti celebrations.

Reports of light to moderate snowfall was received from high altitude areas of Jammu region over the past 24 hours, the officials said.

 

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