Roads, power, water services all disrupted despite men and machinery on the job; IMD predicts dry weather from today afternoon
Srinagar: The “heavy to very heavy” snowfall in Kashmir, which started on Sunday, is likely to end by Wednesday afternoon, the meteorological office said, after which the weather is likely to remain dry for the next few days.
“As expected, widespread Heavy to Very Heavy snow/rain with thunder in plains of Jammu reported since last 2 days. The same is most likely to continue till tomorrow forenoon (especially in South Kashmir, Poonch, Rajouri, Chenab Valley, Pirpanjal etc.),” the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement on Tuesday.
Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director of the J&K Meteorological Department, told Kashmir Reader that the “major wet spell” is likely to end by Wednesday afternoon. He added that there will be gradual decrease in the occurrence of snowfall and rainfall across Kashmir valley from the evening of Tuesday, eventually resulting in significant improvement in weather by Wednesday afternoon.
The IMD said it was expecting cold wave to return “7th Januaryonwards”. “Expect warmer days and colder nights for next week,” it said. The department also advised people to avoid venturing out in snowbound hilly areas as there are chances of snow avalanches.
The heavy snowfall has cut off Kashmir valley with both surface and air transport remaining suspended for the third consecutive day. All flights at Srinagar Airport remained suspended due to heavy snowfall and bad weather conditions on Tuesday. “All flights at Srinagar Airport for today have been cancelled. No flight movement due to heavy snowfall and bad weather condition for today,” said the official handout.
The continuous snowfall kept traffic movement suspended on the vital Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, with officials saying that the road condition has been badly affected by the weather and landslides.
“The road has been affected at several places along Ramban to Banihal stretch. There have been landslides and shooting stones at about 10 spots across this entire stretch. Our men and machinery are on the job, but given the number of landslides and the obstruction caused on the road, it is going to take time till tomorrow evening. Only after that we can decide about the movement of traffic,” Jatindar Singh, SSP Traffic, National Highway Ramban, told Kashmir Reader.
The snowfall, which has been going on in a staggered manner for the past three days across Kashmir valley including in Srinagar city, has thrown normal life out of gear. People mostly stayed indoors while residents of several areas in Srinagar complained that the administration had failed to clear the snow from even the main roads.
“The snow was cleared in the early morning here, and since then no one has been visible around. Later in the day, as the snow accumulated, the limited traffic plying on the main road was severely affected, leaving hardly any vehicle to be able to ply on the road. The condition of lanes here is even worse,” said Altaf Ahmad, a resident of Chanapora in uptown Srinagar.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary told Kashmir Reader that the district administration had put in strenuous efforts with all its men and machinery on toes throughout the entire day to tackle and respond to the various challenges arising due to the heavy snowfall.
On the snow clearance operation across Srinagar city, he said that 25 machines were pressed into service since early morning to clear the snow from all the main roads of the city, while the separate machinery of PWD and PMGSY was deployed for snow clearing operations in other areas.
“By the evening, total linear length of 3915 KM road was cleared which involved 3 to 4 rounds of roadclearance. During the day there was heavy snowfall leading to traffic jams which disturbed the snow clearance work, due to which public advisory for traffic was issued. The public response was prompt and amazing,” he said.
About the disruption of electricity supply across the city, he informed that 9 transformers out of the total 6500 were damaged due to the snowfall while 23 out of 258 feeders of 11KV were damaged.
“Out of 6500 transformers in city, only 9 transformers were reported damaged during the day, for which alternative transformers have been dispatched. 23 out of 258 11KV feeders reported damage, for which KPDCL teams responded promptly and work on many of these continues post evening. All 36 of 33KV feeders were operational. Local curtailments in many areas were necessitated for carrying out preventive repairs to avoid any loss to life and/or property in wake of heavy snowfall,” he said.
On water supply, he said, “Water supply system suffered damage at 6 locations out which 5 were repaired fully by evening, while work is underway at the pending location, which too is expected to be completed by late evening.”
He added that another round of snow clearance for all main roads of the city was started on Tuesday evening, following which the snow clearance operation shall again start in the early morning of Wednesday.
Qazigund in south Kashmir, as per officials, has been badly affected by the snowfall after receiving about one-and-a-half feet of fresh snow during past 24 hours up to Tuesday evening, in addition to the already received two-and-a-half feet of snow since Sunday.
Officials said that in the last 24 hours, Srinagar city received about six to eight inches of fresh snow. Pahalgam received about nine inches of snow during the same period and Gulmarg recorded one feet of fresh snowfall till Tuesday evening. Kupwara received comparatively less snowfall of one to two inches in the last 24 hours, weather officials told Kashmir Reader.
The Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority (DMA) on Tuesday issued fresh medium and low level avalanche warnings for higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir. The department said that “medium level avalanche warning has been issued for higher reaches of Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara and Bandipora districts besides Waltengu Nad, South and North portals of Jawahar Tunnel, Verinag, Kapran, Chowkibal-NC Pass, Gurez, Dawar and Neeru areas.”
Similarly, it said, low-level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Udhampur, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Sonamarg- Zojila, Z-Gali-Kalaroose, Kanzalwan, Tangmarg and Gulmarg. “As such, people living in these avalanche prone areas are advised not to venture out to avoid loss of lives,” the advisory said.
According to the MeT data, Srinagar city recorded a maximum temperature of 2.6 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 0.8 degree Celsius on Tuesday. Qazigund recorded a maximum temperature of 1.6 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of minus 0.2 degree Celsius. Pahalgam recorded a maximum of 2.5 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 1.1 degree Celsius.
Gulmarg recorded minus 1.4 degree Celsius maximum temperature and minus 4.0 degree Celsius minimum temperature. Kupwara recorded a maximum temperature of 1.8 degree Celsius and minus 0.7 degree Celsius minimum temperature.
Regarding traffic movement on Srinagar-Jammu Highway, the traffic department said on Tuesday that there will be no traffic allowed to move from Srinagar towards Jammu and vice versa on Wednesday 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 Mughal Road continues to remain closed due to the accumulation of snow.