Dry weather forecast till end of next week, Sgr-Jammu highway now open
Srinagar: Marking the arrival of winter proper, the plains of Kashmir valley witnessed the season’s first snowfall on Saturday while the upper reaches continued to receive heavy snowfall. The major roads connecting the valley to regions outside were all closed due to the snowfall.
The meteorological department had forecast low to moderate snowfall in Kashmir’s upper reaches and rainfall in plain areas from Friday evening up to Saturday. Though there was no snowfall on Friday in the plains, on Saturday the whole valley was covered with the white blanket of snow early morning, for the first time since last winter.
The season’s first snowfall in plains of Kashmir valley left people thrilled. Many were seen clicking pictures of the fresh snow and sharing them on social media throughout the day.
While the plain areas received mild snowfall during Friday night, the upper reaches received significant amount of snowfall after witnessing intermittent snowfall in the past few days.
The fresh snowfall across plains as well as upper reaches of Kashmir led to the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the Srinagar-Leh Highway, and the Mughal Road. However, in the afternoon, officials said that the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was thrown open to traffic after clearing the snow and debris from the road.
“The highway was thrown open for the traffic after 1PM during the day. It remained only closed for a few hours since morning, and was subsequently thrown open for traffic from Srinagar to Jammu as per schedule”, a traffic official told Kashmir Reader.
The Srinagar to Leh road and the Mughal Road, however, remained closed, as they have been for the past few days, due to heavy snowfall along long stretches of the roads.
Weather officials said that the plains of Kashmir valley received about one to two inches of snowfall on Saturday, while the upper reaches received nearly one foot of snowfall during the same period.
“There wasn’t any major activity of snowfall in plains,” Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director, Meteorological Department J&K, told Kashmir Reader.
He added that the weather across Kashmir valley was expected to improve after Saturday evening and remain dry to the end of next week. “The weather will improve after Saturday evening significantly, and there isn’t any possibility of wet spell up to the end of next week across Kashmir valley,” he said.
Earlier, the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) had sounded an avalanche alert for upper reaches, particularly Gurez in Bandipora district
Met officials said that by Saturday evening, Srinagar received about 10 inches of rainfall in the past 24 hours while Qazigund in south Kashmir received about 10.4 inches of rainfall. Pahalgam received rainfall of about 8.5 inches and Kokernag 9.7 inches.
The ski-resort Gulmarg received about 9 inches of rainfall while Kupwara received about 9.4 inches of rainfall in the last 24 hours up to Saturday evening.
For day and night temperatures, the officials said that Srinagar recorded maximum temperature of 8.0 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 0.6 degree Celsius on Saturday, q dip in the night temperature compared to previous days.
Gulmarg continued to remain the coldest place in Kashmir with maximum temperature settling at 0.6 degree Celsius and minimum temperature minus 4.0 degree Celsius on Saturday. Pahalgam recorded maximum temperature of 10.0 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 0.9 degree Celsius.
Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at 11.5 degree Celsius maximum temperature and 0.2 degree Celsius minimum temperature. Kupwara in North Kashmir recorded maximum temperature of 3.9 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 0.5 degree Celsius on Saturday.
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 Sunday.
For the movement of Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs), it said, “Subject to fair weather conditions and clearance of road, HMVs shall be allowed from Jakheni (Udhampur) towards Srinagar.” For Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs), it said that vehicles shall be allowed from “Nagrota (Jammu) from 5 AM to 11 AM, and from Jakheni (Udhampur) from 6 AM to 12 PM.’
For Mughal Road and Leh-Kargil Road, the department said that the road remains closed due to the accumulation of snow.