Fresh Snowfall Breaks Cold Wave In Kashmir

People walk amid fresh snowfall in Srinagar on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Photo: Abid Bhat

SRINAGAR – Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir received fresh snowfall of the season on Tuesday dipping the day temperature sharply, even as the weather department predicted more rain and snow across the Valley during the next 24 hours.

A Met department spokesperson said that heavy snowfall would occur at isolated places while light to moderate snowfall would occur at most places in the valley during the next 24 hours.

Despite improvement, Drass was the coldest place in the region at minus 21.2 degree, followed by Leh, where the mercury settled at minus 13.5 degree.

Gulmarg, about 55 km from here in north Kashmir, received fresh snow since early this morning, resulting in further dip in the day temperature. Kongdori and Apharwat, the highest point of the cable car project in Gulmarg, also received moderate to heavy snowfall.

The night temperature in the ski resort improved about 2 degree and settled at minus 8.2 degree. “Despite snow since early this morning, the tourists are out on ski slopes, which are already covered under several feet of snow, enjoying different activities,” a hotelier said.

Srinagar was the only place in the region where the night temperature settled above freezing point. But, people woke up to a chilly Tuesday morning due to overcast conditions in the city, which received light drizzle followed by fresh snowfall as the day progressed, resulting in further dip in the temperature. The mercury in the city remained constant about 0.6 degree, which is about 3 degree above normal.

World famous health resort of Pahalgam, about 100 km from here in south Kashmir, received light snowfall in the wee hours on Tuesday, resulting in dip in the day temperature. But, the night temperature at the health resort improved about 7 degree and settled at minus 3.8 degree due to overcast conditions.

The upper reaches in Pahalgam, including Chandanwari, received very light snowfall. Amarnath cave shine and its periphery, besides Sheshnag, Mahagung, Pisso top and Panjterni, also received light to moderate snowfall.

Many other parts of north, south and central Kashmir also received fresh snowfall.

Many places on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, including Qazigund, gateway to the valley, Jawahir Tunnel also received about 5 to 6 inches of fresh snowfall. The mercury at Qazigund, Kupwara in north Kashmir and tourist resort of Kokernag settled at minus 0.6 degree, minus 2.2 degree and minus 1.3 degree, respectively.

Fresh Snowfall Closes Kashmir Highway

Traffic on the Srinagar to Jammu highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was suspended again on Tuesday due to fresh snowfall since early this morning.

Traffic was to ply from Jammu to Srinagar today, a traffic police official said.

However, all Kashmir bound vehicles have been stopped at Nagrota and Udhampur, he added.

He said traffic on the highway was suspended again today following fresh snowfall at Qazigund, both sides of Jawhar Tunnel (JT) and ShaitanNallh. “About six inches of snow has accumulated at Tunnel,” he said, adding the road has become very slippery.

He said rain also lashed landslides prone area between Ramban and Ramsu since early this morning. “All vehicles which had left different parts of the Jammu region have been stopped at Nagrota and Udhampur,” he said.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has started snow clearance operation, he said, adding but continued snowing was hampering the operation. “Once a green signal is received from traffic officials and NHAI, traffic will be resumed from Jammu to Srinagar,” he added.

Frequent closure of the highway due to snow, landslides, shooting stones often leads to shortage of essentials, including fresh vegetables, meat, chicken and LPG cylinders in the valley, which is entirely dependent upon imports from different northern states. Prices of essentials also go up when highway gets closed.

The 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) Ladakh with Kashmir, and 98-km-long Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, and Anantnag-Kishtwar road which remained closed for the past 49 days on Tuesday due to accumulation of snow and slippery conditions.

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