Fresh snowfall in J&K, several roads closed

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR/ JAMMU, Jan 20: The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir today received rain and snowfall in hilly areas while authorities issued avalanche warning for some sensitive mountainous areas.

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Chopper service to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine from base camp Katra was suspended today after bad weather and fresh snowfall on Trikuta hills in district Reasi while tourist resort of Patnitop and Kud received fresh snowfall.
Traffic on Jammu -Srinagar National highway was suspended for over three and half hours after 10 am onwards today due to landslides at Panthyal and slippery road conditions in Nowgam Tunnel area and Banihal stretch. Rajouri-Thannamandi-Bafliaz and Poonch road were closed due to heavy snowfall at Dera Ki Gali while several link roads in Rajouri, Poonch, Udhampur, Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar were closed this afternoon due to heavy snowfall.

Vehicles stranded on Jammu-Srinagar highway near Qazigund-Banihal tunnel.
Vehicles stranded on Jammu-Srinagar highway near Qazigund-Banihal tunnel.

A Meteorological department official said that Srinagar received 0.5 cm of snowfall, Qazigund 11 cm, Pahalgam 8.7 cm, Kokernag 16 cm, Kupwara 2.5 cm and Gulmarg 10 cm.
Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.1°C against last night’s minus 1.4°C. Today’s minimum temperature was 2.0°C above normal for the city.
Qazigund recorded a low of minus 0.6°C against minus 3.4°C on the previous night and it was 2.7°C above normal for the town.
Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 2.9°C against minus 4.3°C on the previous night and it was 4.3°C above normal for the tourist resort.
Kokernag recorded a low of minus 1.4°C against minus 4.3°C on the previous night and it was 2.5°C above normal for the place.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 7.6°C, same as on the previous night and it was 0.1°C above normal for the skiing resort.
In Kupwara town, the mercury settled at minus 1.5°C against minus 2.4°C on the previous night and it was 1.6°C above normal.
Leh and Kargil recorded a low of minus 14.2°C and minus 13.8°C respectively.
Jammu recorded a day temperature of 12.2 deg C which is -5.7 deg C below normal which the City recorded a night temperature of 8.7 deg C.
Holy township of Katra recorded a day temperature of 10.0 deg C and night temp of 7.2 deg C. Bhaderwah town a minimum of -1.6 deg C, Batote -1.2 deg C while Banihal 0.2 deg C temp today.
The MeT department has predicted wet weather for next few days and said that widespread moderate to heavy snow over middle and higher reaches was expected from January 23-25.
Till January 22, he said, generally cloudy weather with chances of light to moderate snow and rain is expected over scattered to fairly widespread places.
“From January 23-25, there is possibility of widespread moderate snow (rain in Jammu) in plains and heavy snow over middle and higher reaches (60% chance),” he said, adding, “on January 26, there are chances of rain in Jammu region and cloudy in Kashmir (60% chance).”
Kashmir is under the grip of Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day long harsh winter period that started on December 21 and will end on Jan 30. It is followed by a 20-day-long period called ‘Chillai-Khurd’ that occurs between January 30 and February 19 and a 10-day-long period ‘Chillai-Bacha’ (baby cold) which is from February 20 to March 1.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority issued an avalanche warning for the hills of Kashmir.
The JKDMA has cautioned that avalanche with ‘low’ danger level is likely to occur above 2500 metres over Bandipora, Baramulla, Ganderbal and Kupwara districts and areas above 2000 metres in Kulgam and Anantnag districts. It has also issued avalanche warning for Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts besides some areas of Poonch,
People living in the notified areas have been advised to take precautions and avoid venturing in the avalanche prone areas.
Report from Rajouri said that Dera Ki Gali road which is providing connectivity between Poonch and Rajouri districts via Thannamandi and Bafliaz was closed today due to fresh snowfall on Pir Panjal mountains. Moreover, this is second snowfall in the region. It continued in different areas including Darhal, Budhal and other adjoining areas of Pir Panjal.
The DKG road was closed by authorities keeping in view safety of passengers. About one to 1.5 ft snow has been reported at DKG by this evening. The road has turned slippery right from Thannamandi to Dera Ki Gali and ahead due to snowfall, sources added.
Even several roads in the higher reaches of Udhampur including Pancheri, Landar, Dudu-Basatgarh-Latti, Bhaderwah, Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban have been closed due to fresh snowfall. Jammu-Srinagar highway remained blocked for about three and half hours today due to landslides and was restored at around 1.30 pm. It was raining in the region but the road was through during late this evening, an official spokesman said.
He, however, said that traffic movement on Kud-Patnitop-Batote road was suspended after fresh snowfall at Patnitop axis this afternoon. The road had turned slippery and no movement of vehicles was allowed this evening towards Patnitop.

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