Slight respite expected today, but Wednesday likely to be similar
Srinagar: The upper reaches of Kashmir and Ladakh received fresh snowfall while rains lashed the plains areas in Kashmir valley on Monday.
The meteorological department had on Sunday predicted light to moderate snowfall in upper reaches and rainfall in the plains of Kashmir valley for three days from Nov 23rd to 25th.
Monday’s snowfall and rain resulted in the blockade of several vital roads. The 280-km Srinagar to Jammu National Highway was closed for traffic for several hours, with traffic officials saying that landslides triggered by rainfall at vulnerable places added to the disruption of traffic movement.
However, by late evening, the road was thrown open for stranded vehicles after clearing the snow in Jawahar Tunnel range and the landslides in Ramban sector, traffic officials told Kashmir Reader.
“Only stranded vehicles were allowed to ply on the road. No fresh traffic was allowed on the highway due to the inclement weather and landslides,” they said.
The Mughal Road and the Srinagar to Leh Highway remained closed for traffic after receiving heavy snowfall during Sunday night and later in the day. The Bandipora-Gurez road, too, remained closed for traffic due to accumulation of snow.
Weather officials said that the Mughal Road, which passes through Peer Ki Gali, received heavy snowfall of about 1 feet on Monday, while the Srinagar-Leh Highway passing through Zojilla, Mina Marg and Gumri received 3-4 inches of fresh snowfall.
Following the prediction of snowfall and rain in Kashmir valley, the Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority had warned of avalanches in the upper regions of Kashmir, while asking people to remain vigilant during the period of next three days.
The famous ski-resort Gulmarg and tourist attraction Sonamarg, which have remained abuzz with tourists in the past two weeks, received about 6 inches of fresh snow on Monday.
“There was about 5-6 inches of snow in Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam on Monday. Peer Ki Gali in Shopian received one feet of snow, Zojilla and Gumri in Ladakh received about 3-4 inches of snow”, Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director, Meteorological Department, J&K, told Kashmir Reader.
He added that certain areas of north Kashmir including Bandipora and Gurez received about 8 inches of snow on Monday. “However, the plains of Kashmir valley received only rainfall as predicted by the department earlier,” he said.
Talking about the weather advisory issued for three days, Mukhtar said that the department was expecting the possibility of snow and rainfall to remain low on Tuesday, but on Wednesday there were strong chances of snowfall and rainfall throughout the day.
“For tomorrow, the chances of precipitation are low across Kashmir valley. However, the weather will continue to remain inclement during all three days. On Wednesday, it is likely to snow and rain like the way it did on Monday,” he said.
Meanwhile, rainfall lashed plains of Kashmir valley on Monday including Srinagar city, bringing about a slight respite from the intense cold after a drastic drop in night temperatures below zero levels recorded on Sunday.
Srinagar city recorded a maximum temperature of 3.7 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of 1.5 degree Celsius on Monday, as compared to minus 3 degree Celsius on the previous night which marked the season’s coldest night so far.
Gulmarg continued to remain the coldest with maximum temperature settling at 0.5 degree Celsius and minimum temperature as low as minus 4.5 degree Celsius on Monday. Pahalgam recorded maximum temperature of 2.7 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of 0.3 degree Celsius.
Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at 4.9 degree Celsius maximum temperature and 2.0 degree Celsius minimum temperature. Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a maximum temperature of 4.2 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 0.2 degree Celsius.
Regarding traffic movement on Srinagar-Jammu highway, the traffic department said that subject to fair weather conditions, traffic will be allowed to move from Jammu towards Srinagar on Tuesday. The department advised people to avoid travelling on the highway in view of the inclement weather forecast by the Met department.
“Subject to fair weather conditions and clearance of road, HMVs shall be allowed from Jakheni Udhampur towards Srinagar,” it said.
For Mughal Road and Leh-Kargil Road, the department said that the road remains closed due to the accumulation of snow. Both the stretches have received heavy snowfall and the road remains blocked, officials said.