Heavy Rains Give Respite From Heat, Raise Fear Of Floods

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“The weather will improve and will be sunny from Friday afternoon and is likely to stay dry over the next few days” —MeT office

Srinagar: Incessant rain pounded Kashmir valley for the second straight day on Thursday sparking fears of floods even as landslides and flash floods disrupted traffic on major highways.

According to the Meteorological Department’s weather forecast, there will be no immediate relief. The Met office on Wednesday had predicted “intense rainfall activity” for the next four days.

Srinagar recorded 14.7 mm of rainfall till 8.30 am this morning since Wednesday and 19.6 mm during the Tuesday/Wednesday night, the officials said.

Qazigund recorded 21.2 mm rainfall, Pahalgam 8.2 mm, Kokernag 28 mm, Kupwara 23 mm and Gulmarg 32.8 mm.

A weather advisory by the MeT Office predicted flash floods and landslides in vulnerable parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

“IMDs experimental model shows that the soil at various places of J-K, especially the Jammu region is fully saturated and has low water absorbing capacity. Continuous rain may lead to flash flood and landslide at vulnerable places,” the advisory read.

It said the weather system may lead to disruption of traffic on Srinagar- Jammu National highway, Srinagar-Leh highway and the Mughal Road.

The MeT office has said the heavy rainfall will continue across the valley till the evening of Thursday, after which there will be a gradual decrease.

The weather will improve and will be sunny from Friday afternoon, the MeT office said, adding that the weather is likely to stay dry over the next few days.

Relief to farmers

The continuous rainfall across Kashmir since the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday also brought relief to the farmers as the valley had reeled under dry weather conditions over the past three months.

Srinagar city recorded a maximum temperature of 35.7 degrees Celsius on August 17 which was the hottest August day in the last 39 years.

The mercury in the city and elsewhere in the valley had stayed above the normal by several degrees this month.

However, the rains have brought down the temperature with the city recording the maximum of 22.6 degrees Celsius on Wednesday which is 13 degrees lower than what it recorded on August 17, the officials said.

The maximum temperature in Srinagar is 6.6 degrees below the normal for this part of the season, they added.

The other places in the valley also experienced huge relief from the hotter days due to the rains as the mercury went down by several degrees.

Rains Batter Jammu

Reports from Jammu said incessant rains continued in most parts of the division for the third consecutive day on Thursday, leading to increase in the water level in major rivers and streams.

The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, also remained closed for the third day, while landslides triggered by overnight rains led to the closure of several other hilly roads in different parts of the Jammu division this morning, they said.

“The situation so far is under control though the water level in major rivers and streams across Jammu region is increasing due to heavy rains in the catchment areas. However, there is no immediate threat of floods,” Superintending Engineer (hydraulic Circle), Irrigation and Flood Control department Jammu, Sumit Puri told PTI.

He said the water level in river Tawi in the city at noon was 10.30 ft which is seven feet below danger mark while the gauge in river Chenab near Akhnoor in the outskirts of Jammu read 29 feet which is also almost six feet below the danger mark.

“Our teams are monitoring the water level regularly and have already sounded an alert, asking people not to come closer to the swollen water bodies as a precautionary measure,” he said, adding that people need to exercise caution as the weatherman has predicted more rains during the day.

He said the water level in Tawi and other water bodies was expected to increase by two to three feet in the next couple of hours.

Five persons, including a couple, were killed and a number of cattle perished in separate incidents of landslides and house collapse in different parts of the Jammu region, while a bridge and dozens of thatched hutments belonging to Gujjar and Bakarwals were washed away over the past two days.

The residents in many areas also faced a lot of hardships after water from overflowing streams entered their homes and pedestrians had to walk through water-logged roads to reach their destination.

A number of roads in various localities were also damaged by the rains, the officials said, adding that a clear picture about the extent of damage would emerge after a detailed assessment.

The officials said thousands of vehicles, mostly trucks, remained stranded on Jammu-Srinagar national highway which remained closed for the third day on Thursday.

The highway was closed for vehicular traffic on Tuesday after a massive landslide struck the arterial road at Dalwas in Ramban district but the road clearance work was hit by inclement weather which triggered fresh landslides and shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the highway at nearly a dozen places between Banihal-Nashri sector.

“The highway is still closed as overnight rains triggered fresh landslides and shooting of stones at various places including Panthiyal, Digdole, Samroli, Dalwas, Kunfer, Monkey Morh and Moum Passi,” a traffic department official said, adding that despite inclement weather, the restoration work is going on to ensure early reopening of the road.

He said landslides also forced closure of different hilly roads, including Basohli-Kathua, Kotranka-Rajouri, Paddar-Kishtwar, Basant-Dudu and Doda-Bhaderwah, this morning and the men and machines are on the job to restore these roads.

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