STATE TIMES NEWS
Jammu: Vehicular movement on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway resumed early Saturday after remaining suspended for two days following multiple landslides triggered by heavy rains and snowfall, officials said.
However, the traffic department advised commuters to follow lane discipline and drive cautiously as part of the arterial road near Sherbibi in Ramban district is single-lane and also slippery at a number of places.
The traffic on the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was suspended on Thursday morning after the road was damaged by a landslide at Kishtwar Patheri near Sherbibi, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded on both sides.
Fresh snowfall blankets Kashmir, Gulmarg records minus 10.6 deg C
Srinagar: Several parts of Kashmir, including Srinagar city, witnessed fresh snowfall on Saturday as the MeT department has forecast moderate top-heavy snowfall in the valley over the next 48 hours.
While it started snowing early in the morning in the higher reaches of Kashmir, the plains of the valley also witnessed snowfall as the day progressed, officials said.
They said the day temperatures are likely to stay between zero and three degrees Celsius at most places in Kashmir. Authorities have issued avalanche warnings in hilly and mountainous areas of Kashmir while motorists have been advised to drive carefully in view of slippery roads, the officials said.
Meanwhile, there was respite from intense cold conditions last night but the minimum temperature stayed several degrees below the normal for this time of the year.
Gulmarg skiing resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 10.6 degrees Celsius, up by 1.4 degrees from the previous night’s minus 12.0 degrees Celsius, the officials said.
Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 8.3 degrees Celsius, up from minus 11.9 degrees Celsius the previous night.
Kokernag and Qazigund towns in south Kashmir both recorded a low of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius, the officials said.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.7 degrees Celsius.
On Friday, the mercury had nosedived across Kashmir with unofficial data suggesting that Larnoo town in south Kashmir Anantnag district had recorded minus 17.1 degrees Celsius followed by Sonamarg resort on the Srinagar-Leh highway which recorded a low of minus 15.1 degrees Celsius.
Although ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period — ended earlier this week, the cold wave has continued in Kashmir.
The valley is currently going through a 20-day-long ‘Chilla-i-Khurd’ (small cold) which shall be followed by a 10-day ‘Chilla-i-Bachha’ (baby cold).
The snowfall also left the road slippery at various places between Ramban and Banihal, while several landslides triggered by rains blocked the road at Magerkote, Panthiyal, Mehar, Cafeteria Morh and Dalwas.
After hectic efforts, the concerned road clearance agencies cleared the debris and allowed stranded vehicles to move towards their respective destinations late Friday afternoon, paving the resumption of normal traffic from both sides this morning, the officials said.
A traffic department official said the strategic 434-km Srinagar-Leh National Highway and the Mughal Road connecting the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Shopian district are still blocked due to heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the Meteorological department forecast wet weather till Sunday evening and advised travellers to follow official advisories before starting their journey.
In its weather update, the MeT department predicted the possibility of light to moderate snow or rain at many places on Saturday, the possibility of light to moderate snow or rain at most places with chances of heavy snowfall over isolated higher reaches on Sunday.
“Middle and higher reaches of the north, north-western and central parts (of Kashmir) may receive 7-10 inches of snow, lower reaches and plains may receive 3-6 inches, while plains of central Kashmir may receive rain with 1-2 inches of snow,” the spokesperson said.
“Middle and higher reaches of south Kashmir may receive 12-15 inches of snow, while lower reaches and plains may receive 6-9 inches. Plains of Jammu division may receive light to moderate rain with thunder/lightning,” the spokesperson said.
He said light to moderate snow over higher reaches of Pirpanjal Range and Chenab Valley with heavy snowfall over isolated higher reaches of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts of Jammu region are expected till Sunday night.