Heavy snowfall threw normal life out of gear in Jammu and Kashmir today, snapping the road and air links between the state and rest of the country.
Electricity supply across the Valley was also suspended due to the fresh bout of snowfall which began last evening. Vehicular traffic from Jammu-Srinagar national highway has been suspended due to slippery road conditions in Jawahar tunnel and Patnitop areas. Flights to and fro Srinagar have also been put off for the time being.
“J&K Highway has closed for the vehicular traffic today due to fresh snowfall and slippery road conditions in Jawahar tunnel and Patnitop areas,” officials at Police Control Room in Jammu said.
The flights to and fro Srinagar have been suspended for the time being and there are bleak chances of any flights operating today due to continuous snowfall, an official of the Airport Authority of India said.
Police said over 200 vehicles are stranded at several places in Sidhra, Udhampur, Ramban, Kud, Ramban and Banihal belts of Jammu region. About one-feet thick snow has accumulated at Jawahar tunnel and 6 inches at Patnitop belt.
The men and machines of BRO are working to clear the highway of snowfall, they said. “We did not allow fresh movement of vehicles from both the capital cities today due to snowfall. Only stranded vehicles will be cleared,” the officials said.
Various inter-district roads including Doda-Kishtwar, Batote-Doda, Basholi, Moghal road besides interior roads of Poonch and Rajouri districts were also closed. Fresh snowfall was witnessed in hills of Kishtwar, Doda, Poonch, Rajouri, Kathua, Reasi, Ramban and Bhaderwah valley, triggering extreme cold wave conditions not only in Himlayan belts but also in plains of Jammu.
Jammu and its adjoining areas witnessed heavy overnight rains while Kashmir received snowfall in the wee hours with Srinagar city receiving 20 centimetres of snow till 8.30 am, a MET office spokesman said.
He said Gulmarg skiing resort registered 1.5 feet of snowfall this morning while Pahalgam in south Kashmir received 45 centimetres of snow. Kokernag received 48 centimetres of snow while Qazigund received 11 centimetres, he added. The fresh snowfall, however, brought much needed respite to the Valley residents from the intense cold wave as minimum temperature in most parts settled close to the freezing point.
Temperatures in Srinagar recorded at 0.2 degrees Celsius, while Qazigund registered a low of minus 0.2 degrees Celsius. Pahalgam and Kokernag areas recorded 1.0 degrees Celsius. Leh recorded a low of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius while Gulmarg recorded minimum of minus 3.4 degrees.
While divisional administration began snow clearance operations early in the morning, the continuous snowfall has rendered roads slippery. Electricity supply across the valley has been shut down as a precautionary measure.