Downpour Cripples Life, Hits Air Traffic; 500 Vehicles Stranded Along Banihal Highway
Srinagar- Kashmir received snowfall for the second consecutive day Wednesday leading to the closure of the vital Srinagar-Jammu highway, besides affecting air traffic, even as the weather department has predicted 'heavy snowfall' in the Valley on January 7 and 8.
According to reports, incessant rains in plains and snowfall in upper reaches affected life in Kashmir Valley on Wednesday, as the day temperature also dipped sharply.
In this capital city, the downpour led to water logging at various marketplaces and residential colonies putting people to inconvenience. People in many areas also complained of erratic power supply.
The 272-km long Jammu-Srinagar highway was also closed for traffic after incessant rains and snowfall triggered mudslides and shooting stones near Cafeteria morh and Chanderkote in Ramban district.
According to reports, At least 500 heavy motor vehicles were stranded at many places along the highway including, Qazigund, Banihal, Ramban, Ramsoo, Batote, Patnitop, Nagrota and Udhampur.
Besides Banihal highway, Mughal Road, Srinagar-Sonamarg-Gumri and Kishtwar-Sinthan road continued to remain closed for vehicular movement as a precautionary measure following the slippery conditions of the roads.
Traffic department has issued an advisory asking people, especially those driving light motor vehicles, not to move on highway between Srinagar and Jammu. It has also been informed that no Kashmir bound vehicle shall be allowed to move ahead of Nagrota till further clearance.
In an official statement issued by Traffic Police HQ Jammu, it has been stated that travel for Light Motor Vehicles on NH44 has become dangerous due to slippery road conditions and shooting stones.
“People are advised to restrict the movement of vehicles on Highway,” Traffic Police said. “Kashmir bound vehicles shall be stopped at Nagrota Jammu till further clearance from Traffic Control Unit, Ramban,” it added.
Meanwhile, the official said Srinagar recorded rain and snowfall of 5mm in 24 hours till 0830 hours today.
The summer capital of J&K, he said, recorded a low of 0.8 Degree Celsius against previous night’s 0.6 Degree Celsius. It was 2.9 Degree Celsius above normal for this time of the year, he said.
Gulmarg had 33mm of fresh snowfall during the time and the mercury settled at minus 4.0 Degree Celsius against minus 5.0 Degree Celsius on the previous night at the world famous resort, he said.
Qazigund had 15mm of rain and snow during the time while it recorded a low of 0.8 Degree Celsius against 0.8 Degree Celsius on the previous night, he said.
Pahalgam, the famous resort in south Kashmir, had 15mms of snowfall and recorded a low of minus 0.4 Degree Celsius against minus 1.2 Degree Celsius on previous night, he said.
Kokernag, also in south Kashmir, had 8mm of rain or snow even as it recorded a low of 0.1 Degree Celsius against minus 0.4 Degree Celsius on previous night, the official said.
Kupwara town in north Kashmir, had 12mm of snowfall and recorded a minimum of 0.0 Degree Celsius against 0.2 Degree Celsius on the previous night, the official said.
Reports reaching said that Bandipora-Gurez road remained closed amid fresh and continuing snowfall. Main Bandipora had 3.4 inches of snow, 2.0ft at Razdan top, 2ft at Tulail and 1.5ft at Dawar, they said.
Reports said that there was 1.5ft of snowfall recorded around Sonamarg in Ganderbal district.
Also Machil, Karna and Keran roads have been closed as higher reaches of Kupwara received 2.0ft of snow.
Jammu recorded a low of 11.6 Degree Celsius, down by two notches from the previous night and normal of 7.3 Degree Celsius for the J&K’s winter capital during this time of the year, he said.
Ladakh’s Leh recorded a low of minus 7.3 Degree Celsius against last night’s minus 7.2 Degree Celsius while Kargil station recorded a minimum of minus 5.9 Degree Celsius, the official added.
Kashmir valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as 'Chilla-i-Kalan' which began on December 21.
'Chilleh Kalan' is a 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 the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall.
A meteorological department official said on Wednesday that widespread rain and snow with heavy to very heavy snow (above 2 feet over higher reaches) occurred since Tuesday. He said a “significant decrease” in precipitation was expected from Wednesday evening.
“Expect another (heavy to very heavy) spell during January 7-8th,” he said, adding, “People are once again requested not to venture in avalanche prone areas as our data shows that most avalanches are triggered during intense heavy snowfall."
The MeT department official also urged people to follow traffic advisory and maintain proper ventilation of rooms.
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