Highway to stay closed today, decision on flights after weather advisory
Srinagar: Snowfall on Thursday badly disrupted air and road traffic in Jammu and Kashmir, with most flights getting cancelled at Srinagar airport and the vital Srinagar-Jammu highway being shut for all traffic.
According to officials, the highway was closed after heavy snowfall in Pir Panjal mountain range. The 300-km highway had stayed closed for seven days before it was opened for vehicles on Wednesday. Today it was blocked again due to fresh snowfall and landslides and will remain closed on Friday as well.
“The Jammu-Srinagar highway will be closed for traffic tomorrow due to snow clearance operations and landslides at many places. People wishing to travel should ask the status of road before planning their trip,” said an official at traffic control unit Srinagar on Thursday.
As per reports, more than 5,000 vehicles are stranded at various places on the highway. Roads in Banihal have turned slippery following fresh snowfall, and there have been some landslides on the Ramban stretch.
Officials said priority would be to ensure that no vehicle gets stranded and all vehicles parked or abandoned at various places on the highway are cleared.
The highway has remained closed for more than 12 days in January due to landslides and snowfall.
“The decision about stranded vehicles and movement of fresh vehicles will be taken after weather improves,” an official said.
Director of Srinagar airport Akash Deep Mathur said that most flights on Thursday were cancelled due to snowfall and poor visibility.
“There was poor visibility at the airport due to snowfall. Runway was also slippery, which is why most flights were cancelled,” he said.
The Srinagar airport announced cancellation of 15 flights to Jammu, New Delhi, Mumbai and other places.
“The decision to operate flights tomorrow will be taken by the airlines and the air traffic control after receiving fresh weather advisory,” Mathur added.
Though the meteorological office has forecast improvement in weather from Friday, it also said there was possibility of widespread light to moderate rain and snow in many places and heavy falls at isolated places in the state.
“The weather will show considerable improvement from Friday afternoon,” said Director of J&K MeT department, Sonam Lotus.
According to the MeT office, the minimum temperature at Srinagar settled at minus 0.7 degrees Celsius, slightly up from the previous night.
Qazigund in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.1 degree Celsius, while nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 0.4 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 2.3 degree Celsius. Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius while Pahalgam registered a low of minus 6.1 degrees Celsius.
Leh recorded a low of minus 9.1 degrees Celsius during the night.