Normal life was disrupted on Monday in Kashmir due to fresh snowfall, which led to the closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and affected flight operations in Srinagar as well. Fresh snowfall was recorded across Kashmir with some places in the higher reaches of the Valley witnessing heavy snowfall, an official of the Meteorological Department in Srinagar said.
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He said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir received around two feet of fresh snowfall during the night. There are reports of heavy snowfall in many of the higher reaches of the state as well, including in some of the areas along the nearly 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway forcing its closure. “Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has been closed for traffic due to bad weather,” an official of the Traffic Department told PTI.
He said there was snowfall of around two feet near Jawahar Tunnel and other areas along the highway – the only all-weather road-link connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country – so the authorities decided to suspend the traffic. The official said snowfall was hampering the efforts to reopen the highway for traffic. The air traffic to and fro Srinagar International Airport was also affected due to the snowfall and two flights were cancelled this morning.
“Two flights have been cancelled and if there is no improvement in the weather, the flight operations for the day will be difficult,” an official at the airport said. In Srinagar city and other towns of the valley, snowfall began during the night and continued in the morning, affecting the movement of traffic as the roads were rendered slippery. However, owing to the overnight cloudy sky, the night temperature improved by several degrees across the Valley and Ladakh region.
The summer capital recorded 7.4 cm (about three inch) of snowfall during the night, the MET official said, adding it registered the minimum temperature of minus 0.9 degree Celsius, compared to the previous night’s minus 2.3 degrees Celsius. He said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg recorded 53 cm (about two feet) of snow and the mercury there settled at a low of minus 8 degrees Celsius.
He said the resort was the coldest places in the Valley. The official said there also were reports of heavy snowfall in the peripheral areas of the resort including in the areas of Khilanmarg, Kongdoori and Afferwath. The famous health resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir, which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, received 3.5 cm of snow and the mercury registered a low of minus 3.2 degrees Celsius.
Qazigund recorded 25.4 cm of snow, while Kokernag 7.5 cm and Kupwara 2 cm, the official said, adding the higher reaches like Keran, Machil, Karnah, Gurez, Shopian, Sonamarg and Amarnath cave along with surrounding areas experienced heavy snowfall.
Leh in the frontier region of Ladakh was the coldest recorded place in the state with a low of minus 10.1 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Kargil town registered the minimum temperature of minus 4.8 degrees Celsius. The MET Office has forecast widespread snowfall or rains over two days from Monday and fairly isolated to scattered rains or snowfall for two days after that.