Highway to open today after 7 days for traffic from Jammu to Srinagar
Srinagar: A few parts of Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, received fresh snowfall on Saturday, which affected air traffic and left vehicles struggling on slippery roads.
As per weather officials, the snowfall was mostly restricted to parts of central and south Kashmir. Srinagar city received about four inches of fresh snowfall in the 24 hours up to Saturday evening, while Qazigund in south Kashmir received the same amount during this period, officials said, adding that there wasn’t any considerable snowfall elsewhere in the valley.
After the heavy snowfall earlier this week, the local meteorological office had predicted dry weather in Kashmir valley till Jan 14. The office had also forecast slightly inclement weather on January 9, Saturday.
The fresh snowfall on Saturday resulted in inconvenience to hundreds of commuters in Srinagar city. People were seen struggling with their vehicles due to the slippery condition of roads, many of which were only partially cleared of snow by the authorities, leading to traffic jams all around the city.
The Srinagar administration advised motorists to avoid taking out vehicles for a few hours on Saturday until the snow clearance was done, while asking those already on the roads to drive carefully. Later in the afternoon, vehicles were able to ply normally on the roads after most of the snow was cleared.
The Srinagar Airport, which has been able to operate flights only for two days this week, had to again cancel many flights on Saturday due to the fresh snowfall. Officials there said that most of the flights were cancelled and only a few flights were able to operate late in the afternoon.
“Due to the fresh snowfall, flight operations remained affected at the airport today. Out of the 27 scheduled flights, only 6 flights were able to operate in the late afternoon after clearing off the snow. Men and machinery were continuously on the job but the continuous snowfall till noon led to disruption in flight operations,” Santosh Dhoke, Director Srinagar Airport, told Kashmir Reader.
For Sunday, he said, flight operations will remain subject to the weather conditions as well as visibility. “If weather and visibility remains feasible, flight operations will resume at the airport,” he said.
The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was, however, opened for the movement of stranded traffic on Saturday.
“The highway remained open throughout the day, and all the stranded vehicles were allowed to ply. Mostly the stranded vehicles from Jammu to Srinagar were allowed to ply on Saturday after clearing off the landslides, mudslides and shooting stones from the road. However, no fresh traffic was allowed,” a traffic official told Kashmir Reader.
He said that after remaining suspended for the last seven days, normal traffic on the highway will resume on Sunday. The traffic department said that subject to fair weather conditions and better road condition, Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) shall be allowed from Jammu towards Srinagar on Sunday.
Weather officials said that the weather was expected to remain dry until next weekend and there wasn’t any possibility of wet spell till 17th January, Monday.
“Weather will remain dry for next few days, till January 17th. There isn’t any possibility of inclement weather till that time,” Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director, Meteorological Department, J&K, told Kashmir Reader.
The minimum temperatures, as per the officials, continued to plunge across Kashmir valley on Saturday. Srinagar recorded a low of minus 4.0 degree Celsius and maximum of 5.4 degree Celsius, while Qazigund recorded a minimum temperature of minus 2.8 degree Celsius and maximum temperature of 4.0 degree Celsius.
Ski-resort Gulmarg froze at minus 10.0 degree Celsius minimum and maximum temperature of minus 0.4 degree Celsius on Saturday. Pahalgam recorded a minimum of minus 5.1 and a maximum of 5.2 degree Celsius temperature.
Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a maximum temperature of 6.5 degree Celsius and minus 5.4 degree Celsius minimum temperature on Saturday.