Kashmir Receives Another Snow Spell

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A group of children playing on a snow covered hill in Srinagar outskirts on Tuesday | KO photo Abid Bhat

Gulmarg Coldest At Minus 7.5 Degrees Celsius

Srinagar- There was moderate snowfall at most places in Kashmir on Tuesday, bringing cheer to those associated with tourism and trade as they expect business to pick up in the New Year’s Eve.

Officials said snowfall started in Srinagar around 7 am, several hours after it had begun in neighbouring Budgam and Pulwama districts.

Snowfall was also going in Kulgam and Anantnag districts of south Kashmir, they said.

The officials said the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded seven inches of fresh snowfall, while Pahalgam resort in the south and Sonamarg resort in central Kashmir received around three to four inches of snow each.

Gurez in north Kashmir recorded three inches of fresh snowfall, they said, adding that there are reports of snowfall in other areas in the upper reaches of the Valley as well.

The officials said the area around the Jawahar Tunnel on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway also received snowfall since Monday but the arterial road was open for vehicular movement.

The snowfall ahead of the new year has seen many domestic tourists and locals rushing to Gulmarg and Pahalgam, they said.

The officials said Gulmarg saw more then 1,200 domestic tourist arrivals on Monday, while over 2,500 locals from various parts of the Valley were also in the skiing resort. The numbers are expected to swell over the next two days, they added.

Pahalgam resort also was seeing brisk footfall ahead of the new year celebration.

Meanwhile, overcast conditions meant that the night temperature in the city remained around freezing point.

The officials said the minimum temperature in Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir was 0 degree Celsius on Monday night.

They said the mercury in Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir settled at minus 3 degrees Celsius, minus 7.5 degrees Celsius in Gulmarg, minus 0.4 degree Celsius in Qazigund, minus 1 degree Celsius in Kupwara and minus 3 degrees Celsius in Kokernag.

The ski-resort of Gulmarg was the coldest recorded place in the valley.

Meanwhile, Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the Valley.

The chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall, the officials said.

While ‘Chillai-Kalan’ which began on December 21 will end on January 31, the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).

Dense Fog Disrupts Flights Jammu

Four flights to and from the Jammu airport were cancelled and seven more delayed as dense fog engulfed the region on Tuesday, a day after high-altitude areas, including the Vaishno Devi shrine, received the season’s first heavy snowfall, officials said.

Jammu Airport Director Pravat Ranjan Beuria said flight operations were yet to begin due to “poor visibility” caused by foggy conditions.

“Four morning flights — three scheduled to operate on Srinagar-Jammu-Srinagar route and one on Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu — have been cancelled, while seven other flights are delayed,” Beuria said.

He said visibility was zero at the airport at 9 am, and it improved to 500 metres at 1 pm.

“We are waiting for the visibility to improve to the required level (1,000 to 1,200 metres) to restart the flight operations,” the director said.

Normal life has been hit across the Jammu plains by the dense fog and chilly weather, the officials said.

The fog cleared in most parts by noon, providing some sort of relief to the people, they added.

The minimum temperature in Jammu fell by over two notches compared to the previous night to settle at 3.7 degrees Celsius, which is 3.7 degrees below the normal during this part of the season, a spokesperson of the Meteorological department said.

He said the city had recorded a maximum temperature of 13.2 degrees Celsius on Monday, which was 5.8 degrees below the season’s average.

The day and night temperatures plunged below the season’s average following moderate to heavy snowfall in the high-altitude areas in most parts of Jammu region during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.

The Vaishno Devi Shrine in Reasi experienced its first snowfall, while other high-altitude areas, including Patnitop hill station in Udhampur and the upper reaches of Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Poonch, Kathua, Reasi and Ramban, also experienced fresh snowfall.

While the Jammu-Srinagar national highway remained open for traffic, Mughal Road, which connects the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Shopian district, was closed after Peer Ki Gali and adjoining areas witnessed heavy snowfall.

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