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Avalanche warning in Kashmir, NH remains closed on 2nd day

Army rescues 5 foreign tourists, 2 die in lightning

Avalanche warning in Kashmir, NH remains closed on 2nd day

Power supply snapped to many Jammu areas

Fayaz Bukhari / Gopal Sharma
SRINAGAR/ JAMMU, Feb 13:After heavy snowfall in the hills of Kashmir and many parts of Jammu region, weather improved today and authorities issued avalanche warning while Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for traffic for the second consecutive day today.
Two persons were killed during thunderstorm and lightning in remote Kandi area of Rajouri and Bani belt of  Kathua late last evening while power supply to many hilly areas of Jammu region including Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Poonch, Balakote,  Reasi-Mahore, Dudu-Basantgarh area of  Udhampur and Machhedi-Bani area of Kathua has been snapped due to rain and snowfall.
In view of snowfall, the authorities today issued avalanche warning. The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) issued high danger avalanche warning for Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts including Gulmarg, Kupwara-Chowkibal-Tangdhar sector, Furkian-Z Gali and Bandipora-Kanzalwan-Gurez sector.
They issued Medium danger avalanche warning for Kargil district and Low danger warning for Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Udhampur, Kulgam, Budgam and Leh districts and Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. The people living in avalanche prone areas have been advised to take precautionary measures while moving out.
With the improvement in weather conditions, the flights today landed and took off  from Srinagar airport after all the flights were cancelled yesterday due to poor visibility and snowfall.
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for traffic today as no vehicle was allowed to proceed towards Jammu or Srinagar. However, as weather improved today and highway was cleared from boulders/ slides  ahead of Ramban, over 200 vehicles including 55 carrying passengers were allowed to proceed towards Srinagar. However, after and hour the highway was again blocked at  1.30 pm due to fresh land slides at Digdol and Battery Chashma.
Snowfall, coupled with landslides and shooting of stones triggered by incessant rains at several places including Panthyal, Ramsoo and Anokhifal, forced the closure of the highway, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded.
Over 200 vehicles including 55 passenger vehicles stranded at Banihal were allowed towards Kashmir after the Qazigund-Banihal stretch was cleared of snow this afternoon. However, a landslide at Nashri this morning slowed down the clearance operation but the agencies concerned cleared the road after hectic efforts.
Authorities also allowed around 160 light motor vehicles and 240 trucks laden with essential items from Udhampur towards Kashmir, however, on reaching Ramban they were stopped again due to the fresh landslides and shooting stones at Anokhi Fal and Panthyal areas.
Efforts are on to clear the highway of the blockades at various places including Anookhi fall, Panthyal, Ramsoo, Karol, Mehar and Nashri.
The Jammu-Poonch highway was also closed during early morning today due to snowfall at Bhimber Gali. The GREF authorities cleared the snow and the highway could be restored at a round 12.30 pm. Rajouri-Thannamandi-Bafliaz-Suankore and Budhal- Chasana -Mahore roads were also closed. Several link roads in Udhampur  and Reasi, besides Doda and Kishtwar have been blocked due to fresh snow fall and power supply to majority of the areas could not be restored even by this evening. Mahore-Gool, Chenani-Lati-Dudu-Basantgarh-Ramnagar Road was also blocked. However, the traffic on Batote-Doda-Kishtwar road remained smooth today.
Reports from Kathua said that during thunder storm and lighting a villager at Patoli in Lohai Malhar area of Billawar/Bani was killed late last evening. He was returning home when a strong beam of flash light from the sky hit him causing his death on the spot. His body could be traced this morning.  The deceased has been identified as Surjeet Singh (32), son of Ramalu Ram, resident of Patoli (Malhar).
In yet another similar incident during thunder storm late last evening one Shamim Akhtar (35), wife of Mohd Sharief, resident of  village Bariyari Badaal in Kandi (Budhal) area of district Rajouri, was killed. She was at her home when the incident took place.
Meanwhile, a MET department official said there could be light rain or snow in some areas in the next 24 hours.  “Light rain/snow would occur at isolated places over the higher reaches of J&K in next 24-hours,” the official said.
The official said that Srinagar recorded a low of -minus 0.6 degree Celsius and maximum of 5.7 degree Celsius. He said Gulmarg settled at minus 2.5 degrees Celsius. The ski resort had a low of minus 10.5 degrees Celsius.
Kargil and Leh townships in Ladakh region recorded a minimum of minus 14 degree Celsius and minus 5.4 degrees Celsius and a maximum of minus 5.0 degree Celsius and minus 1.0 degree Celsius respectively.
The Pahalgam South Kashmir recorded a low of minus 7.9 degree Celsius and a maximum of 4.7degrees Celsius.
The winter capital city- Jammu, rescored a maximum temperature of 19.5 degree Celsius  and minimum  8.7 degree C today; Holy township of Katra  maximum 16.5 degree C and minimum 5.0 degree C; tourist resort  Bhaderwah maximum 8.7 degree C  and minimum minus 1.6 degree C while Batote maximum 8.4 degree C and minimum minus 1.7 degree C temperature.
Heavy rush of local tourists was witnessed at Patnitop and Natha Top which experienced heavy snowfall over night. It was Sunny day today  and large number of people from Jammu, Udhampur  and other destinations reached Kud, Patnitop  and Natha Top to enjoy snowfall along  with their families.
An official spokesman said that Army rescued five foreign tourists at Gulmarg who strayed from their Skiing route and lost their way.
“One Dutch, one American and three British tourists including a lady started skiing at around 1.00 p.m. from Apharwat, Gondola Phase II and got deviated from the original route.  They skied and trekked for hours but in absence of the guide were lost and not able to find their route back to their hotel. After hours of walking, they finally reached close to an Army Camp at around 09.30 p.m in a bad state and were totally exhausted”, the Defence spokesman said.
He said that Army extended every possible help to comfort the guests and they were brought to Gulmarg and were served with hot dinner before being escorted back by the representatives of the Hotel.
Anantnag police today said that they rescued two pregnant ladies who were stuck due to snowfall that had blocked the roads. A Police spokesman said: “Police party of Police Station Larnoo on receiving a distress call proceeded towards village Tangwani & after extraneous efforts managed to transport the pregnant lady(name withheld ) to PHC Larnoo in a  police vehicle, who was in dire need of medical treatment & thereby saved a precious life.”
“In the similar case, the police party from police station Utersoo headed by SHO Police Station  Utersoo Inspector  Imtiyaz Ahmad after receiving a distress call proceeded towards the village Nurser Chattergul. The road leading towards the village was snow covered and at number of places trees were fallen on road. After clearing the fallen trees from road and walking a distance of about 3 kms, police party reached to the  village and evacuated the pregnant lady on a bed from Nurser to Kherpora and there from transported to Shangus  hospital in a Sumo hired by police”, the spokesman added.

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