SRINAGAR: Friday afternoon ended the intense cold wave that swept Kashmir this winter as the valley witnessed its first major snowfall of the year. The valley had witnessed a record breaking cold wave prior to the snowfall as the mercury touched -7.7 degrees Celsius for the first time in nearly three decades.
People across the length and breadth of the valley welcomed the snowfall, saying it had occurred at a much-needed time. Teenagers and kids seemed to be enjoying the snow most of all.
Deputy Director Meteorological Department, J&K, Dr Mukthar told Kashmir Reader, “After 6th January, the weather will improve. This is a sign of relief as it will break the cold in Kashmir.”
The Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed Friday as a precautionary measure after the road was rendered slippery due to fresh snowfall, a Traffic Department official said.
Vehicular movement has been stopped on the highway, and a decision on resuming traffic will be taken only after an improvement in weather conditions, the official said.
The authorities have also suspended traffic on hilly roads in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, following fresh snowfall in the area.
Officials said that while the Kupwara-Tangdar road has been closed for two days, the Kupwara-Machil and Kupwara-Keran roads have been shut for traffic for an unspecified time.
The Srinagar-Muzafarabad road was also blocked near Khanpora from 3 pm on Friday, and thousands of vehicles, including both passenger and private vehicles, were stranded.
Officials said that almost all the areas were covered by a white blanket within half an hour. The snowfall was continuing across North Kashmir when this report was filed.
The In-charge of the Snow and Clearence control room told Kashmir Reader that 19 snow machines had been deployed in Srinagar city and 11 in Budgam district, while four snow clearance machines each were deployed in Ganderbal, Kulgam, Shopian and Gulmarg and two in Anantnag.
Air traffic at Srinagar Airport was affected Friday afternoon due to poor visibility, which led to the cancellation of flights.
However, flight operations took place in the morning, an airport official told Kashmir Reader. “All the flights took off at the scheduled time, and there were no cancellations from Srinagar Airport due to the bad weather,” the official said.
He expressed hope of improvement in visibility on Saturday for the resumption of normal operations at the airport.
As per the Met Department, the minimum temperatures recorded on Friday were in Gulmarg, at -10.0 degrees Celsius; Phalgam at -6.8; Srinagar, -3.2; Kokernag and Kupwara, -1.0 and Qazigund, -0.8.
The maximum temperatures recorded were in Qazigund at 3.8 degrees; Srinagar, 3.7; Kokernag, 3.2; Kupwara, 3.0; Phalgam, 0.5 and Gulmarg, -4.0
Meanwhile, as per the Met Department, Kupwara recorded 11.2 mm of snow till 5.30 pm on Friday; Gulmarg, 8.2 mm; Srinagar, 4.4 mm; Qazigund and Pahalgam, 2.4 mm and Kokernag, 1.0 mm.