Airport, highway shut, more snowfall expected
Srinagar: Even as the weather department forecast “heavy” snow from Monday evening in Kashmir, the valley was already cut off from the world with both air and road traffic shut for the second consecutive day on Monday.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and its local Jammu and Kashmir office have both forecast snowfall in Kashmir till Wednesday.
The IMD has said that snowfall along with rain with occasional breaks will continue across Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh up to January 6.
All flights at Srinagar Airport remained suspended due to poor visibility on Monday, officials said.
“All the flight operations were cancelled today due to poor visibility. Though the runway was cleared early morning after the overnight snowfall, the flights couldn’t leave or arrive due to the issue of visibility. If visibility improves tomorrow, flight operations can resume,” an official at Srinagar Airport told Kashmir Reader.
For the second consecutive day, the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained suspended for vehicular traffic due to fresh overnight snowfall across the Jawahar Tunnel range. However, by the afternoon the highway was thrown open for stranded vehicles which crossed over to Banihal from Qazigund and vice-versa through Jawahar tunnel after the snow was cleared.
“The stranded traffic, especially HMVs including trucks were allowed to pass over towards Banihal from Qazigund and accordingly the stranded traffic including both HMVs and LMVs on the Banihal side were also allowed towards Qazigund in the afternoon after clearing the snow. However, the work of road widening currently under snowfall is still going on to make the road feasible for the movement of all vehicles,” said Ajay Singh, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officer in charge for Jawahar Tunnel.
In the Valley, officials maintained that all the main roads including link roads stand cleared of the snow and the traffic was moving on the roads across Kashmir valley. The snowfall also led to the disruption of electric supply in different parts of Kashmir valley on Sunday while as with the fresh spell of snow overnight, more people were seen complaining about the unavailability of electricity on Monday. However, the officials said, 95% of the electricity supply was restored across Kashmir valley except in some areas of south Kashmir which have received heavy snowfall.
“Over 95% electric supply has been restored across Kashmir valley. Out of the 951 feeders of 11KV, 906 feeders are currently working without any problems. The rest of the 45 defunct feeders will also be restored soon as our men are working tirelessly on the ground. Of the total load of 1400 megawatts, we’re currently supplying 1270 mw of power supply across Kashmir valley,” Aijaz Ahmad Dar, Chief Engineer, Power Development Department (PDD), told Kashmir Reader.
By Monday evening, Qazigund in south Kashmir had recorded snowfall of about two-and-a-half feet while Kupwara in north Kashmir received less snowfall of one to two inches, weather officials told Kashmir Reader.
Srinagar city received about 5.2 inches of snowfall while Kokernag in South Kashmir received about one-and-a-half feet. The ski-resort Gulmarg, interestingly, didn’t witness much snow and only recorded one to two inches of snowfall till Monday evening.
Tourist destination Pahalgam received snowfall of about 9 inches and Banihal in Jammu region recorded about two to three inches of snowfall till Monday evening, officials said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority on Monday issued medium and low-level avalanche warnings for upper reaches of Jammu and Kashmir. “Medium level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Jawahar Tunnel, Doda, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara and Tanghdar,” officials of the authority said.
Low-level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Gulmarg, Gurez, Kanzalwan, and Sonmarg. The department advised people living in avalanche-prone areas to not venture out.
According to the MeT department, Srinagar city recorded maximum temperature of 2.9 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 0.9 degree Celsius on Monday. Qazigund recorded maximum temperature of 3.2 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 0.3 degree Celsius. Pahalgam recorded a maximum of 3.1 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 6.7 degree Celsius.
Gulmarg recorded minus 0.8 degree Celsius maximum temperatures and minus 5.0 degree Celsius minimum temperature. Kupwara recorded maximum temperature of 5.2 degree Celsius and minus 0.3 degree Celsius minimum temperature.
Regarding traffic movement on Srinagar-Jammu highway, the traffic department said on Monday that there will be no traffic allowed to move from Srinagar towards Jammu and vice versa on Tuesday due to the accumulation of snow. “No traffic tomorrow, in view of snow accumulation around the Jawahar Tunnel, landslides, shooting stones and mudslides at several places of the national highway and inclement weather prediction by MeT department,” it said.
The Mughal Road continues to remain closed due to the accumulation of snow.