All Flights Grounded At Srinagar Airport, Highway Reopens Partially
Jammu/Srinagar: Season’s major snowfall affected normal life on Sunday with all flights cancelled at Srinagar airport, while traffic on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway was stopped for nearly four hours following a landslide in Jammu’s Ramban district, officials said.
Heavy snowfall was reported in the higher reaches of the valley, while the plains saw a moderate snowfall.
Snow clearing operations are on but traffic movement remained slow as the roads were slippery.
The snowfall, which resumed again on Sunday after a brief let up, forced authorities to cancel all inbound and outbound flights from Srinagar airport for the day.
The let up allowed airport authorities to clear the runway of snow.
“However, the snowfall started again before any flights could operate,” an official of the Airport Authority of India said, adding, “all the flights have been cancelled for the day due to bad weather in Srinagar.”
Authorities have issued avalanche warnings for hilly areas of Kashmir, urging the residents to avoid unnecessary movement for the next 24 hours.
In Jammu, a landslide struck the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway at Kishtwari Patheri near Sher Bibi area around 11.15 am, bringing traffic to a halt, officials said.
The road clearance agencies immediately pressed men and machinery and managed to clear debris, restoring a partial run of vehicles within four hours, they said.
The road at the landslide hit area has been rendered single-lane.
Most parts of Ramsu-Banihal-Srinagar stretch of the highway recorded snowfall, while the rest of the 270-km highway was lashed by rain.
Officials said the helicopter service to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills in Reasi district also remained suspended during the day due to inclement weather.
The Bhairo Ghati area of the shrine along with nearby areas witnessed fresh snowfall while the plains, including Katra town, recorded 2.4 mm of rainfall, they said.
Snowfall was also reported from Poonch, Rajouri, Kishtwar and Doda districts besides the upper reaches of Reasi.
In the valley, snowfall caused a rise in the minimum temperatures and a drop in the day temperatures in most places.
According to a MeT department forecast, the weather is expected to improve in Kashmir from Monday onwards.
Qazigund town in south Kashmir was the warmest place on Saturday, recording a high of 3.2 degrees Celsius followed by Kokernag at 3.1 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Gulmarg, a skiing resort in north Kashmir, has been several degrees below freezing point for the past 72 hours, recording minus 7.0 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
Pahalgam in south Kashmir, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of minus 3.5 degrees Celsius.
Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius, the officials said.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.
Although ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period — ended earlier this week, the cold wave still continues in Kashmir.
The valley is currently going through a 20-day-long ‘Chilla-i-Khurd’ (small cold) which will be followed by a 10-day ‘Chilla-i-Bachha’ (baby cold).