Srinagar: Snowfall on Sunday left entire Kashmir valley under its white carpet. The upper reaches as well as plains received moderate to heavy snowfall, which disrupted both surface and air connectivity, while the weather office predicted snowfall to continue for next two days.
Earlier, the Indian Metrological Department (IMD) along with its Jammu and Kashmir office had predicted widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rainfall across Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh from Monday. But surprisingly, Kashmir valley was seen covered with the blanket of snow early morning on Sunday, and as the day progressed, the snowfall continued across Kashmir valley as well as in parts of Jammu region.
The weather officials said that the snowfall had started during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday in most places of Kashmir valley, especially south Kashmir, while a few other places including Srinagar city started receiving snowfall early morning on Sunday.
They said the major impact of snowfall was seen in south Kashmir and central Kashmir with north Kashmir receiving light snowfall on Sunday.
As per officials, air traffic at Srinagar Airport remained suspended due to poor visibility and snowfall throughout the day, except a single flight. “The flight operations from the airport will be resumed only after improvement in visibility and weather conditions,” an official at the Srinagar Airport told Kashmir Reader.
The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained suspended for vehicular traffic on Sunday due to heavy snowfall on the Jawahar Tunnel range since Saturday night, which continued throughout the entire day of Sunday. Officials said that despite men and machinery on the job since early morning, the continuous snowfall was undoing all their efforts.
“The entire stretch has received heavy snowfall of about 4 feet, and it still continues without any break,” Ajay Singh, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Officer in charge for Jawahar Tunnel, told Kashmir Reader.
He added that keeping in view the heavy snowfall, the department had managed to rescue the stranded vehicles near the Jawahar Tunnel on Sunday to safer places in order to avoid any untoward incident.
Srinagar city received moderate snowfall without any major impact on the movement of vehicles, but other parts of Kashmir valley especially south Kashmir saw all the main as well as link roads blocked due to accumulation of snow. However, officials said, the majority of snow-affected roads were cleared of the snow by the evening.
The Disaster Management Authority of J&K sounded avalanche alert for parts of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. The department said that medium-danger avalanche warning was sounded for upper reaches of Poonch district, while low-danger avalanche warning was sounded for upper reaches of Rajouri, Doda, Samba, Anantnag, Kulgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora and Kargil districts.
The heavy snowfall also affected power supply in several parts of Kashmir valley. Officials of power department said that there wasn’t any major power crises anywhere in the valley expect in a few areas of south Kashmir.
“The power scenario is good across the valley. There hasn’t been any major impact of snowfall so far on the ground except in a few areas. Out of the 951 feeders, 935 are currently working and only 16 feeders have been defunct, which too will be restored by late evening,” Aijaz Ahmad Dar, Chief Engineer, Power Development Department (PDD), told Kashmir Reader.
Weather officials told Kashmir Reader that Srinagar received about two to three inches of snowfall on Sunday while Qazigund in south Kashmir received heavy snowfall of about one-and-a-half feet.
Gulmarg received about one inch of fresh snowfall while Pahalgam and Sonamarg witnessed lesser snowfall of five to six inches of snow, officials said.
Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded a snowfall of about seven inches while Kupwara in north recorded as less as two inches of snowfall on Sunday.
In Jammu region, Banihal received about two to four inches of snowfall on Tuesday.
The weather officials said that the snowfall was likely to continue for next two days, on Monday and Tuesday, and that it can impact both air and surface traffic.
The widespread snowfall, however, led to increase in minimum temperatures across Kashmir valley. Srinagar city, according to weather officials, recorded a maximum temperature of 3.4 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 1.5 degree Celsius, while Qazigund recorded a maximum temperature of 1.6 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 0.2 degree Celsius. The tourist destination Pahalgam recorded a maximum of 5.2 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 1.5 degree Celsius temperature on Sunday.
Gulmarg recorded minus 1.0 degree Celsius maximum temperature and minus 5.0 degree Celsius minimum temperature. Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a maximum temperature of 5.2 degree Celsius and minus 3.3 degree Celsius minimum temperature.
Regarding traffic movement on Srinagar-Jammu highway, the traffic department said there will be no traffic allowed to move from Srinagar towards Jammu and vice versa on Monday due to the accumulation of snow. “No traffic tomorrow, in the view of snow accumulation around the Jawahar Tunnel, landslides, shooting stones and mudslides at several places of national highway and inclement weather prediction by Met department”, it said.
The Indian Meteorological department said that widespread light to moderate snowfall/rain with thunderstorms in plains was reported from J&K whereas weather remained mainly dry in Ladakh. It said the forecast for next 5 days was moderate to heavy snowfall/rain with thunderstorms most likely to continue till January 6.
“We expect heavy to very heavy snowfall mainly during 4th afternoon to 5th especially in South Kmr, Poonch, Rajouri, Banihal-Ramban, Reasi. Light to Moderate snowfall is also likely in Zanskar, Drass, Kargil, Leh, etc, on the 5th,” the IMD said.