Decision on highway traffic to be taken today
Srinagar: Normal life remained out of gear across Kashmir valley as rains continued in the plains areas while fresh snowfall was witnessed in upper reaches for the second consecutive day on Friday. The weatherman has predicted the weather to remain “erratic” till Monday.
Earlier, the meteorological department (Met) had predicted widespread rains over the plains and snowfall over the upper reaches of Kashmir valley during 11 and 12th March, Thursday and Friday. It had issued a “Yellow alert” for this period with the warning that the impact of precipitation was likely to disrupt traffic on Jammu to Srinagar national highway and Srinagar to Leh highway.
The weather is expected to remain inclement up to Monday though weather officials said that there will be gradual decrease in the intensity of precipitation in the next few days.
“The weather is expected to remain inclement over the next few three days, up to 15th of March. Another western disturbance is likely to hit J&K by Saturday evening which will again bring snow over the upper reaches and rainfall over the plains of Kashmir valley. However, the intensity of precipitation is likely to decrease over these three days. The rains will be seen in a staggered manner, in addition to cloudy weather and occasional sunshine,” Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director of the Met Department in J&K, told Kashmir Reader.
Gulmarg recorded about one foot of fresh snowfall on Friday. Sonamarg recorded about two feet of fresh snowfall. Due to heavy snowfall, tourists were not allowed beyond Gagangeer in Sonamarg as the district administration said on Friday that due to the accumulation of snow, it wasn’t possible to allow the movement of vehicles towards the tourist destination.
Other higher reaches like Keran and Tangdhar in Kupwara and Reban in Sopore also received fresh snowfall of about two to three inches on Friday, weather officials said.
Srinagar city recorded about 45 cm of rainfall till Friday evening. During the same period, Qazigund recorded about 60 mm, Pahalgam 53 mm, and Kokernag about 36 mm. Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded major rainfall of about 80 mm.
The continuous rainfall over the past two days has left people worried. They are closely monitoring the water level in Jehlum river and its tributaries. However, the authorities of Flood and Irrigation department said there was no flood threat in Kashmir valley as the water levels were normal. Later in the evening as the rainfall stopped pouring down, several people heaved a sigh of relief.
Due to the widespread rainfall, the minimum temperatures nosedived across Kashmir valley on Friday. The weather officials said that Srinagar city recorded a low of 2.2 degree Celsius, sharply down from 6.8 degree Celsius on the previous night. Qazigund recorded a low of 3.0 degree Celsius, against 5.7 degree Celsius on the earlier night.
Pahalgam recorded a low of 0.3 degree Celsius, down from 1.6 degree Celsius recorded a night before, while the mercury in Kokernag settled at a low of 3.0 degree Celsius, against 4.3 degree Celsius on the previous night.
Several areas in north Kashmir reeled under sub-zero conditions on Friday as the mercury in ski-resort Gulmarg settled at a low of minus 2.4 degree Celsius, down from minus 1.5 degree Celsius on the earlier night. Kupwara recorded a low of minus 0.7 degree Celsius, against 4.4 degree Celsius on the previous night.
There will be no traffic movement on the Srinagar to Jammu national highway for the second consecutive day on Saturday, the traffic department said, in view of the inclement weather prediction which could trigger landslides and shooting stones at several places. However, it added, if the weather improves by night, the decision on traffic movement will be taken on Saturday after assessing the condition of the road.