First Snow Brings Down Temperatures, Closes Highways

KO Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar- The higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh received fresh snowfall on Saturday, forcing the closure of the Srinagar-Leh and Shopian-Poonch Mughal Roads for traffic, while the plains were lashed by rains, officials said.

Many areas in the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir, including the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, and the tourist resort of Sonamarg in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district received snowfall which was going on when last reports came in, the officials said.

They said there were reports of snowfall from other areas in the higher reaches, including Gurez in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, besides in Zojila Pass and Drass (in Ladakh UT).

Razdan pass, which is the gateway to Gurez Valley, has also received season’s first snowfall, officials said.

The district administration Bandipora has already closed the 84-km Bandipora- Gurez road for traffic movement in view of weather advisory issued by the Meteorological department.

They said due to the snowfall, authorities closed the Srinagar-Leh road, which passes through Zojila pass and connects Jammu and Kashmir with Ladakh union territory, for traffic.

“The road has been closed for traffic as a precautionary measure in the wake of snowfall,” the officials said.

Meanwhile, most of the areas in the plains of the Kashmir valley received rains, bringing down the temperature.

The MET Office has said there will be an increase in precipitation during the next two days with the peak around Saturday night and Sunday.

The weather is likely to improve significantly thereafter, it said.

Mughal Road, Zo-jila Closed For Traffic

The Mughal Road, an alternate link between the Kashmir Valley and Pir Panchal region was closed for vehicular traffic on Saturday following snowfall, officials said.

The road, connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri with south Kashmir’s Shopian, was closed as a precautionary measure in view of snowfall in the high altitude Peer Ki Gali and adjoining areas, they said.

A few inches of snow had accumulated on the ground, rendering the road unsafe for vehicular traffic, the officials said, adding given the prediction of moderate to heavy snowfall, the road was closed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident.

The road usually remains closed for winter owing to heavy snowfall in the Peer Ki Gali area.

“Subject to fair weather and good condition of road, only load carriers carrying fresh fruit would be allowed from Shopian towards Poonch between 11 am to 4 pm on Sunday,” a traffic department official said.

He said no vehicular traffic would be allowed after the cut off timing while no passenger vehicular or pedestrian would be allowed on the road.

The meteorological department had predicted moderate to heavy snowfall in the high altitude areas and rains in the plains in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir till Monday.

Zo-jila closed for traffic

The strategic 434-km Srinagar-Leh highway was also temporarily closed for vehicular traffic due to fresh spell of snowfall and slippery road conditions at Zojila Pass.

Fresh spell of snowfall, particularly at Meenmarg and Sonamarg, Zojila, Zero Point, traffic on the highway was temporarily suspended on Saturday No vehicle was allowed from both side, a police official said.

He said due to fresh snowfall and below freezing temperature, the road had become slippery. Therefore, he said, traffic was temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure to avoid any accident.

According to SHO Police station Drass Manzoor Hussain Mir Srinagar-Leh highway, including Sonamarg Zojila, Minimarg and Shaitani Nallah recorded light to moderate snowfall since Saturday morning resulting in slippery road conditions.

He said that no vehicle are stranded on any place at the highway we have cleared traffic yesterday from both sides ,Adding traffic has been temporarily closed for vehicular traffic due to fresh spell of snowfall.

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