Landslides shut down highway after snowfall in upper reaches, rain in plains
Srinagar: Normal life remained out of gear on Monday as rains lashed the plains of Kashmir valley with a few higher reaches receiving fresh snowfall, even as the weatherman predicted no let-up in the wet spell till Tuesday evening.
The J&K meteorological department (Met) had predicted a four-day wet spell across Jammu and Kashmir from 21st March to 24th of March, with the major intensity expected on 22nd and 23rd of March. The department had also sounded “amber and yellow” alert signifying that there will be heavy amount of precipitation resulting in the disruption of traffic on the Srinagar to Jammu and Srinagar to Leh highways.
Following which, traffic movement on Srinagar to Jammu national highway was affected on Monday. Officials said that due to landslides and shooting stones at Panthyal and Shaban Pass in Ramban district, traffic movement had to be suspended for a few hours during the day. However, they said, there wasn’t any major disruption of the traffic and as such the vehicles were now plying on the highway, though with a slower pace due to the huge rush of vehicles.
According to weather officials, a few upper reaches of Kashmir received moderate to heavy snowfall while heavy rainfall lashed the plains on Monday. The officials said that Sadhna Top and Keran sector in Kupwara received about one to two feet of fresh snowfall with Sonamarg recording about six inches of fresh snow. Interestingly, famous ski-resort Gulmarg which often receives snowfall, didn’t receive any snowfall.
Since morning, the officials said, Srinagar city recorded over 9 mm of rainfall till Monday evening while Qazigund recorded 16.6 mm major rainfall. Pahalgam recorded 12.6 mm, Kokernag 9.8 mm, Kupwara 4.8 mm and Gulmarg 9.6 mm of rainfall till Monday evening.
The widespread rainfall threw life out of gear across Kashmir valley on Monday with most people seen holding umbrellas. The day started on a cloudy note in the morning and later the clouds opened in every nook and corner of the valley.
The weatherman has predicted the wet spell to continue on Tuesday with the same intensity. But, later in the evening, the inclement weather will begin to improve gradually, followed by significant improvement by Wednesday afternoon.
“As predicted earlier, there will be heavy rainfall in certain places of Kashmir and moderate to heavy snowfall in its higher reaches. It was witnessed today and the same is expected to be witnessed tomorrow. In the evening, we’re expecting a gradual improvement in current weather conditions by Wednesday afternoon,” Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director of the Meteorological Department in J&K, told Kashmir Reader.
The weather department has cautioned people against “possible” thunderstorms and lightning, while asking them to be wary of landslides, flash floods and mudslides following the rainfall. Earlier, too, the department had issued a similar advisory to the people of both J&K and Ladakh.
Jatindar Singh Johar, SSP Traffic, Ramban, told Kashmir Reader that traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was disrupted for a few hours on Monday. ‘’There have been landslides and shooting stones at Panthyal and Shaban Pass area of the highway due to which traffic was disrupted for a few hours. After clearing off the debris, the road was thrown open for the traffic. However, due to the huge number of vehicles which have resorted to double and triple laning on the highway, the traffic movement is quite slow. We’ve put all our efforts to streamline the vehicular movement,” he said.
He informed that till Monday evening, nearly 3,500 trucks carrying essential supplies and other commodities had passed over to Kashmir valley along with 4,000 passenger vehicles while thousands of vehicles were still en route to the valley. He advised the commuters to strictly avoid travelling on the highway in view of the prevalent weather conditions which had made a major stretch of highway prone to landslides and shooting stones.
“It’s raining continuously and we request all the commuters to delay their travel plans through the highway for now. People should avoid travelling on the highway and save themselves from trouble on the journey. A major stretch of highway between Banihal to Ramban has become prone to landslides and shooting stones due to the continuous rainfall. People need to act in a sensible manner and prevent themselves from getting stuck on the highway,” he advised.
There will be no vehicular movement on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway on Tuesday, the traffic department said, as the rainfall has triggered landslides and shooting places at several places.