Fresh Snowfall Cuts Off Kashmir From Outside World

A car passes through snow-covered Srinagar-Gulmarg road on Monday. | KO Photo: Abid Bhat

All Highways Closed, 300 Vehicles Stranded On Banihal Highway

Srinagar: The higher reaches of Kashmir valley on Monday witnessed fresh snowfall, while fairly widespread rain lashed the plains, cutting off all the surface links of Kashmir Valley with the outside world.

The MeT office has issued an ‘Orange Colour’ weather warning for the higher reaches of J-K and Sonmarg -Zojila axis on the Srinagar-Leh road, asking the administration and people to be prepared and to maintain vigil.

A MeT official said light to moderate snow with heavy falls at isolated places was reported from many areas of Kashmir, a few places of Jammu and Sonmarg-Drass axis.

The ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, recorded four inches of fresh snowfall during the night, while Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir, recorded 10 cm of snow, the official said.

KO Photo: Abid Bhat

The areas in the plains of the valley were also lashed by rains, he added.

It was still snowing, especially in the higher reaches, when the last reports came in and the weather system is likely to continue, he said.

This spell is most likely to give good snow/rain in the Pirpanjal area Gulmarg, Ramban-Banihal, Shopian, Poonch-Rajouri and Zojila especially during November 24-25 and decrease thereafter significantly, the official said.

Meanwhile, the fresh snowfall also forced the closure of Srinagar-Jammu and srinagar-Leh road as well as Mughal road, the alternate roadway connecting the valley with the Jammu region, an official of the Traffic Control Room said.

According to officials, the Jammu-Srinagar National was closed due to fresh snowfall and landslides in Ramban district, leaving over 300 vehicles stranded.

KO Photo: Abid Bhat

The 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was blocked by a landslide in Ramban district, they said.

Traffic has been halted due to snowfall at Jawahar tunnel, they said, adding men and machinery have been deployed to clear the area.

People are advised to undertake journeys on the highway only after confirming the status of the road from traffic control units, a traffic police advisory said.

Officials said Srinagar-Leh national highway and Mughal road were again closed today due to fresh snowfall.

Traffic on the highway was suspended this morning as there was fresh snowfall, the officials said, adding that a few inches of snowfall was recorded at Drass, Meenmarg and about eight inches at Zojila pass.

The road has become very slippery and there is also the threat of an avalanche, they said adding a snow clearance operation will be launched once the snow stops.

The highway was recently reopened for traffic after remaining closed for four days due to snowfall and slippery road conditions.

The highway remains closed during winter months due to heavy snowfall.

The Centre has also started construction of a tunnel at Zojila pass to make it an all weather road.

Meanwhile, historic Mughal road was closed on Monday, a traffic police official said.

The historic 86-km-long Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region has been closed for traffic due to fresh snowfall.

Traffic on the road was recently restored after remaining suspended for four days due to snowfall.

We closed the road, seen as an alternative to Srinagar-Jammu highway, because of fresh snowfall since early this morning’, said a traffic official.

There was heavy snowfall at Dubjan, he said, adding that snowfall was also recorded at Pir-ki-Gali, Herpora and other areas on the road.

The road was being used to transport fresh fruit from Kashmir valley to different mandis, including Jammu after frequent closure of the highway this summer.

Traffic will be resumed only after weather improves and a green signal is received from traffic police civil administration officials posted at different places on the road, which remained closed for about six winter months due to heavy snowfall.  (with PTI inputs)

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