Kashmir valley received snowfall on Friday leading to the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway and impacting the flight operations to and fro the Valley, officials said here. 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, they said.
The fresh snowfall started early in the morning and continued till the last reports came in, they said. The famous ski resort of Gulmarg, tourist resorts of Pahalgam and Sonamarg and many other places experienced fresh snowfall, they said.
The inclement weather has 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 Mehar area of Ramban district and slippery conditions of the road, they said.
The officials said road clearance operations are going on but continuous snowfall and rain are making the job difficult.
The weather conditions also affected the 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. “All flights for today at our airport have been cancelled due to continuous bad weather,” the officials at the Srinagar airport 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”. 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.
The weather will remain mainly dry from Saturday till January 18.
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, Jammu and Kashmir State Disaster Management Authority on Friday issued avalanche warning in several districts of Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of heavy snowfall since morning.
According to a communication, avalanche with high danger level is likely to occur above 2000 metres of Bandipora and Kupwara districts in the next 24 hours. “Avalanche with medium danger level is likely to occur above 2000 metres over Baramulla and Ganderbal districts and avalanche with low danger level is likely to occur above 2000 metres over Anantnag, Doda, Kishtwar, Kulgam, Poonch and Ramban districts in the next 24 hours,” the communication reads.It also advised people living in these areas to take precautions and avoid venturing in the avalanche prone areas.