- Highway closed, air traffic suspended
- Father, son killed by lightning in Reasi
- SASE issues high danger avalanche warning
The plains and the upper reaches in Kashmir valley Monday received fresh snowfall, ending a dry spell of nearly two-month.
The first snowfall of the season in Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, brought cheers to the people.
Following Western Disturbances on Sunday, Metrological department Srinagar had predicted heavy rains and snowfall.
A MeT official told Kashmir Post that moderate to heavy snowfall had been recorded in plains as well as the upper reaches.
According to officials, Srinagar recorded 16 cm snowfall, Gulmarg 1 feet, Pahalgam 13 cm, Qazigund 17 cm, Kupwara 6 cm, Kokernag 16.7 cm, Banihal 6 cm, Batote13 cm and Bhaderwah 16 cm.
On Monday, Srinagar recorded a maximum temperature of 2.8 degree Celsius while Monday night it dropped to 0 degree Celsius, he said.
Kashmir was reeling under one of its worst winter dry spells.
“There was a widespread fear that unless it snows in sufficient measure during the remaining part of this season, Kashmir could face drought in the summers,” said Ghulam Qadir, an orchardist of Harwan Srinagar.
After the fresh snowfall, weather may witness significant improvement from tomorrow.
Director Metrological department Srinagar, Sonam Lotus told Kashmir Post that from tomorrow forenoon there would be a significant improvement in the weather.
MeT department predicted heavy rains and snowfall in the Valley on Sunday after Western Disturbances, which according to officials, would remain affected till Tuesday.
Following the heavy snowfall, Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the world, as it forced the closure of the 300-km fair-weather Srinagar-Jammu highway.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Traffic Rural, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat told Kashmir Post that the road had been closed for traffic due to accumulation of snowfall and slippery movement at many places.
The only road link to Kashmir was closed for the traffic movement during the intervening night of Sunday and Monday.
“No vehicular traffic was allowed on the highway due to continuous snowfall,” Bhat said. “At Qazigund and Jawahar Tunnel, at least 1-1.5 feet snow has accumulated.”
He said the government would start clearance of roads once the snowfall stops.
Meanwhile, the traffic police department has asked passengers planning to travel on the highway in coming days to contact the concerned traffic control room before leaving for their destinations.
In view of the inclement weather, air traffic at Srinagar airport remained suspended due to poor visibility, compelling the authorities to cancel all the 24 flights.
The flight operations were cancelled from the morning due to which commuters stayed at homes.
Tourists wishing to leave Kashmir were also stranded at tourist places.
Director Srinagar airport, Sharad Kumar told Kashmir Post that all the 24 flights scheduled on Monday from Srinagar were cancelled due to poor visibility.
“In the morning all the airlines’ flights were delayed and kept on standby due to snow at the airport,” he said. “We had planned to resume the operation but the poor visibility continued till afternoon.”
Kumar said if the weather improves on Tuesday morning, they would resume the operations.
Speaking to Kashmir Post, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan said the administration was ready to tackle the situation.
“We are all prepared to deal with the situation,” he said. “We have put our man and machinery to clear the snow on the roads.”
Meanwhile, a father and son died when lightning struck their house in Reasi district.
A police official said lightning struck in Launcha area of Mahore tehsil in the Reasi district at 4 pm today resulting in death of 30-year-old Ali Mohammad and his 3-year-old son Shabir.
Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) issued high danger avalanche warning has for Baramulla, Gulmarg, Kupwara, Chowkibal, Tangdhar, Phurkian, Z Gali, Bandipora, Kanzalwan and Gurez sector.
SASE has also issued medium danger warning for Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar, Ganderbal and Kargil while it issues low danger warning for Srinagar-Jammu highway and higher reaches of Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Leh, Reasi and Udhampur districts.
People living in these areas have been advised to avoid these routes and avalanche-prone areas.