Kashmir weather: Fresh snow, more coming
  • Sgr-Jmu highway closed
  • Train services suspended
  • KU exams postponed
  • Five flights cancelled

SRINAGAR: Fresh snow fell across the Kashmir Valley on Monday, 7.4 cm recorded in Srinagar, 53 cm in Gulmarg, 30.5 cm in Banihal, 25.4 cm in Qazigund, 19 cm in Batote, 7.5 cm in Kokernag, and 2 cm in Kupwara. Director Met department Srinagar, Sonum Lotus told Kashmir Reader that due to western disturbances there are chances of light to moderate snowfall in the next two days, and a “good spell of snowfall” next week across the Valley.
An official at the Met department said that Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of -0.9 degree Celsius, few notches up than the -2.3 degree and -6.8 degree on Sunday and Saturday.
Gulmarg recorded a minimum temperature of minus 8. Pahalgam, where minimum temperature was recorded -4.6 degrees Celsius on Sunday, the temperature settled down at minus 3.2 degree Celsius on Monday. About 3.5 cm of snow was also recorded in the area.
Leh district of Ladakh recorded a lowest of minus 10.1 degree Celsius while Kargil recorded minus 4.8 degree Celsius as the lowest.
Due to heavy snowfall at several places like Jawahar tunnel, Patnitop and Ramban areas, the Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed for vehicles. Senior Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Fayaz Ahmad Lone said that the highway was closed for all types of vehicular traffic after heavy snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel.
“Jawahar Tunnel witnessed around 4 ft of snowfall. Our men are busy clearing the snow from the road to pave way for the stranded vehicles. As snowfall is still going on, disrupting our work, the highway would continue to remain closed for all types of traffic till improvement in weather,” Lone said.
Train services from Baramulla to Banihal were also suspended indefinitely. An official said that keeping in view the predictions of snowfall, the step was taken by the authorities for the safety of passengers.
People in north Kashmir said that due to freezing temperature, the water pipes and taps were frozen and people were facing shortage of drinking water. They said that lack of electricity had increased their troubles.
Ghulam Mohammad Ganie, a resident of Baramulla, said that people were fetching drinking water from dirty streams because of lack of water and electricity supply.
The snowfall also disrupted air traffic on Monday, with five scheduled flights cancelled by the airport authorities.
Sharad Kumar, Director Srinagar International Airport, said that the snowfall led to cancellation of five morning flights. The flight operations resumed once the runway was cleared by the airport authorities. “After 2pm, 10 flights flew as per the schedule,” Kumar said.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan told Kashmir Reader that men and machinery were kept ready a day before and they started clearing snow off the roads from early morning.
“Given the weather predictions we had kept our teams ready to mitigate challenges that may have arisen because of snowfall. Till now we have been successful in our preparedness,” Khan said.
He said the deputy commissioners of Kashmir Division have been asked to take all precautionary measures in their respective districts.
All the exams scheduled on January 16 and 17 of Kashmir University were postponed because of the heavy snowfall.
“All Kashmir University examinations scheduled to be held on 16th and 17th January 2017, on Mondayand Tuesday, are postponed,” a statement from the university said.
The met department said that people need to take extra precautions as there are reasonable chances of avalanche in snow-bound areas.
“Administration has to gear up to mitigate the upcoming challenge. People should refrain from roaming outside where there are heavy chances of avalanche (during the coming days),” Sonum Lotus said.