Highways Blocked, All Flights Cancelled; Dry Weather Predicted For Next 4 Days
Srinagar- Kashmir Valley on Friday was cut-off from the rest of the world due to heavy snowfall leading to the closure of strategic Srinagar- Jammu highway, besides grounding all the flights at the Srinagar International Airport.
While the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir experienced moderate to heavy snowfall, many areas in the plains including Srinagar received light to moderate snowfall, officials said.
The fresh snowfall started early in the morning and continued till the last reports came in, they said.
The officials said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg recorded about eight inches of snowfall, followed by 14 inches in Pahalgam and about 2.5-3 feet in Sonamarg (in the last 24 hours).
Many other areas in the higher reaches experienced very heavy snowfall, they added.
The plains in Jammu were lashed by rain.
The inclement weather resulted in the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway — the only all-weather road connecting the Valley with the rest of the country, the officials said.
The highway was closed for traffic due to landslides in the Mehar area of Ramban district and slippery conditions of the road for most part of the day, they said.
The officials said road clearance was completed in the evening, but only stranded vehicles were allowed to ply.
However, slippery conditions prevail with intermittent shooting stones and mudslides along the route, the officials said, advising commuters to travel with caution.
The weather conditions also affected air traffic at the Srinagar airport.
Air traffic to and fro Kashmir was suspended and flights for the rest of the day cancelled due to snowfall, officials said here.
Flight operations had taken place in the morning, but had to be suspended due to continuous snowfall and low visibility, the officials said.
They said the passengers of the cancelled flights would be accommodated by the respective airlines in the next available flight “at no extra cost”.
Director Srinagar International Airport, Kuldeep Singh told Kashmir Observer that 35 flights were cancelled due to poor visibility. He said if the weather permits, all the flights will take off on Saturday.
When asked that flights don’t stop despite heavy snowfall in Europe but are suspended in Kashmir after few inches of snowfall he said “ flights are suspended in every part of world when there is low visibility” he said adding that “Our Airport does have all the facilities”
Moreover, the inclement weather conditions also affected the electricity at some places including South and central Kashmir areas.
“There are some outages but during the ongoing snowfall, there has been no major outage anywhere. We have already pressed our men and machinery into the services and the electricity at these places are being restored in a short span of time,” Chief Engineer, Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL), Javed Yousuf Dar told a local news agency KNO.
Meanwhile, the wet weather pushed the night temperature up at most places in the Valley.
The mercury settled above the freezing point in Srinagar and Qazigund.
Srinagar recorded a low of 1 degree Celsius on Thursday night, up from minus 0.2 degrees the night before, the officials said.
Qazigund, the gateway to the Valley, registered a minimum temperature of 0.2 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 0.2 degrees, they said.
The minimum in Kupwara, a frontier district, settled above the freezing point at a low of minus 0.7 degrees.
Pahalgam in Anantnag district, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, registered a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature in Gulmarg in Baramulla district was recorded at minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, up from minus 5.5 degrees Celsius, the officials said.
The MeT Office had said that fairly widespread light rain in the plains of Kashmir and Jammu divisions and light to moderate snow over the higher reaches is expected on Friday.
Deputy Director, Meteorological department Mukhtar Ahmad, told Kashmir Observer that weather is likely to improve from Saturday.
“The weather would remain mainly dry from January 14 till January 18” he said.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest weather period when the chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent.
Chillai Kalan begins on December 21 and ends on January 30. The cold wave continues even after that with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold) following it.
Meanwhile, in view of the bad weather, Police have established Emergency Helpdesk Control Rooms for the people in order to facilitate them in case of any untoward incident or distress. For any emergency or exigency, general public can also dial 112, a police spokesperson said.
For Bandipora district, the helpline numbers include PCR Bandipora 01957225278, 9596767430, ASP Bandipora 9596767453, DYSP HQRS Bandipora 9596767440, SDPO Gurez 7006795292, SHO PS Gurez 7006250037, SHO PS Tulail 7780922131, DO Police Post Izmarg 9419991882, SHO PS Bandipora 9596767411, SHO PS Pethkote 9596767415, SHO PS Aragam 9596767421, DO Police Post Aloosa 9596767416, DO Police Post Sumlar 9596767413, DO Police Post Ajas 9596767452, SHO PS Hajin 9596767431 & SHO PS Sumbal 9596767441.
For district Budgam, the helpline numbers include PCR Budgam 01951-255207, 01951-255042, 8082567612, SHO Budgam 9419000538, SHO Magam 9906449794, SHO Khansahib 9596000212, SHO Chadoora 7006411196, SHO Charar-e-Sharief 9797279660, SHO Khag 9419905840, SHO Breewah 7006252476, DO Humhama 6005599737, DO Soibugh 9906000474, DO Narbal 9797626526, DO Waterihail 9419007052, DO Pakerpora 9797985415, Out-Post Hardipanzo 9596203940, DO Mouchwa 9797290222.
For district Kulgam, the helpline numbers include Police Control Kulgam (PCR) 01931260486, 7889786112, ASP Kulgam 9906605555, DySP Hqrs Kulgam 7051510654, SDPO DH Pora 7051510676, SHO PS Kulgam 7051510661, SHO PS Yaripora 7051510662, SHO PS DH Pora 7051510663, SHO PS Devsar 7051510664, SHO PS Qazigund 7051510665, SHO PS Qaimoh 7051510667, SHO PS Manzgam 7051510671, SHO PS Behibagh 7051510669, SHO PS Kund 7051510670, IC PP Frisal 7051510668, IC PP JT 7051510680, IC PP Mirbazar 7051510679.
PCR Srinagar 0194-2477567, 9596222550, 9596222551, PCR Ganderbal 01942416564, 01942416478, 9906668731, PCR Awantipora 01933247369, 7051404001, PCR Shopian 9596768831, 01933-261891, 9596768831, PCR Anantnag 01932-222870, 01932-222100, 9596777669, PCR Handwara 01955262295, 9906767076, PCR Sopore 01954-222312, 01954-225333, 9596773024, PCR Baramulla 01952234410, 01952237830, 9596767768, PCR Kupwara 01955-252451, 9596152621, 7051404938, PCR Pulwama 01933-241280, 01933-241986, 8491942867, 9070123536 and PCR Kashmir: 0194-2506506, 0194-2506507.
Police also said that citizens can also avail any kind of assistance by dialing 112 (With PTI inputs)
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