Met Office Predicts Heavy Snowfall in Kashmir, Sounds Orange Alert

KO Photo By Abid Bhat

Srinagar- The weatherman on Tuesday issued an ‘orange alert’ as Kashmir Valley, including this capital city, received fresh snowfall leading to closure of highway and link roads besides disrupting air traffic at the Srinagar ‘international’ airport.

“As expected, weather is overcast in both J&K with widespread light rain/snow and moderate snow over higher reaches,” an official of the MeT office said.

“Present weather is likely to intensify as the day progresses. Expect Moderate Snow/Rain in plains and Heavy Snowfall over higher reaches with main activity later tonight and tomorrow in both Jammu and Kashmir.

The weatherman has issued ‘amber/orange warning for “isolated heavy snowfall”.

There are four types of colour codes signifying the level of caution: green which means no action, yellow—situation to be watched), amber –government agencies need to be prepared for severe weather and red –action needed by the agencies.

The weather office has urged people not to venture out on avalanche and landslide prone areas, unless extremely necessary. “Keep power/light backup( in case of power failure),” the MeT office said, adding,” Drive very slowly and in low gear while driving on snow bound area.”

Two successive western disturbances are affecting Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and adjoining areas till 9th January (forenoon).

Under the influence of these weather systems, the weatherman said that widespread moderate rain and snow was expected in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions. “Light rain/snow would commence at a few places of Kashmir from 3rd January evening and thereafter increase in intensity & distribution,” reads the advisory, adding, “Main activity of this system will be the occurrence of moderate to heavy rain/snow, most likely during 5th and 8th January and gradual decrease thereafter.”

The system is likely to cause heavy rain and snow mainly in Pirpanjal Range of Jammu Division (from Bhadcrwah to Banihal), upper reaches of Kashmir (Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Baramulla and Kupwara , and Drass subdivision in Ladakh.

Regarding probable impacts, the weather advisory says that there may be disruption of surface and air transport including Jammu- Srinagar Highway, Srinagar-Leh Highway (Zojila Pass), Leh-Manali, Mughal Road, and Sadhna pass.

“(there are) chances of snow avalanches and landslides in vulnerable areas besides disruption of power supply in hilly areas.”

There may be water logging in low lying areas besides further dip in day temperatures, it said.

“People in snow bound areas are to avoid venturing into sloppy areas during heavy snow,” the advisory reads, adding, “People are also advised to maintain proper ventilation.”

Meanwhile, the official said that Srinagar, recorded rain and snowfall of 7.1mm from overnight till 0830 hours today.

The summer capital of J&K, he said, recorded a low of 0.6°C against previous night’s 3.0°C. It was 2.7°C above normal for this time of the year, he said, as per news agency GNS.

Kashmir is presently under the grip of 40-day long harshest period of winter, known locally as ‘Chillai Kalan, which started from December 21. It is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ and a 10-day-long ‘Chilla Bachha’.

Gulmarg recorded 8.4 inches (21cm) of fresh snowfall during the time and the mercury settled at minus 5.0°C against minus 5.8°C on the previous night at the world famous resort, he said.

Qazigund had 4.0mm of rain and snow during the time while it recorded a low of 0.6°C against 1.4°C on the previous night, he said.

Pahalgam, the famous resort in south Kashmir, had 13.5 cms of snowfall and recorded a low of minus 1.2°C against minus 3.0°C on previous night, he said.

Kokernag, also in south Kashmir, had 1mm of rain or snow even as it recorded a low of minus 0.4°C against 0.6°C on previous night, the official said.

Kupwara town in north Kashmir, had 5cms of snowfall and recorded a minimum of 0.2°C against 2.0°C on the previous night, the official said.

Reports said that Bandipora-Gurez road was closed due to fresh and continuing snowfall. 5 inches of snow had already accumulated at Gurez, 9 inches at Razdan top, 5 inches at Tulail and 4 inches at Dawar, they said.

Reports said that there were 6 inches of snowfall recorded at Sonamarg to Bajri Nallaj in Ganderbal.

Also Machil, Karna and Keran roads have been closed as higher reaches of Kupwara received 1.5 ft of snow amid continuing snowfall.

Jammu recorded a low of 11.8°C, up by 4.5°C from the previous night and normal of 7.3°C for the J&K’s winter capital during this time of the year, he said.

Ladakh’s Leh recorded a low of minus 7.2°C against last night’s minus 9.1°C while Kargil automatic station recorded a minimum of minus 9.0°C and Drass recorded a low of 7.5°C, the official added.

Reports said while strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway was open hitherto amid continuous snowfall, several flights to and fro Srinagar airport have been delayed, officials and reports said.

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