Cold tightens its grip over Kashmir Valley

Srinagar: Intermittent snowfall continued in the upper reaches of the Kashmir Valley even as the mercury across the region plummeted by several degrees, intensifying the cold wave today.

The fresh snowfall prompted the authorities to issue a medium danger avalanche warning for high altitude areas, while snow clearance operation has been started to restore snapped road links and provide basic amenities like power and water to the people, officials said.

The reports of intermittent snowfall continued from the upper reaches but the plains, including Srinagar which received light snowfall last evening, witnessed improvement in the weather.

A MET office spokesman said the night temperature across Kashmir and Ladakh slipped below the freezing point with the famous ski resort of Gulmarg, which was covered by over one-and-a-half feet of fresh snow, emerging as the coldest recorded place in the division.

Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 9.6 degrees Celsius – a drop of over five degrees compared to the previous night, the spokesman said.

The peripheral areas of the north Kashmir resort including Kongdoori and Aferwath recorded over three feet of snow during the past two days.

The famous hill resort of Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra during summer, recorded 14 inches of snow and a drop of two degrees in the night temperature which settled at minus 2.4 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.

The 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath and adjoining hills witnessed heavy snowfall.

He said the minimum temperature in the summer capital Srinagar also recorded a drop and settled at minus 0.8 degrees Celsius compared to 1.3 degrees Celsius the previous night.

Srinagar experienced intermittent rains and snowfall throughout the day yesterday as a result of which the maximum temperature fell to 5.3 degrees Celsius – four degrees below normal during this part of the season.

While the plains experienced light snowfall, the high altitude areas of the Valley recorded one to three feet of fresh snowfall as a result of which many far flung areas got snapped from the district headquarters, officials said.

They said the district authorities have pressed men and machinery into service to restore the snapped road links besides the power and water supply.

In views of the fresh snowfall, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Asgar Samoon issued a medium danger avalanche warning in the snow-bound areas of the Valley last night.

“A medium danger avalanche warning exists for snowbound areas in Qazigund, Shopian, Chowkibal-Tangdar, Taya, Ragini, Puttakhan, Zunegund, Malai, Pharkiyan, Keran Sector, Bandipora, Gulmarg, Neeru, Burab, Chakwali, Naugaon, Kaiyan, Radha TMG, Padam, Zebra, Patlala, Z-Gali, Macchal, Dhudi, Tsuntwarl, Drass Sector, Kargil Sector and higher reaches of Kulgam and Anantnag in Kashmir division,” an official spokesman, quoting Samoon, said.

He advised people not to venture in steep avalanche prone slopes during next 24 hours.

“People are also advised to keep cleaning the snow from roof top of their houses to avoid any causality due to roof collapse,” he said.

The MET office said Kargil in Ladakh region recorded a low of minus 9 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Leh town recorded a minimum of minus 6 degrees Celsius.