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Heavy snowfall in hills, Kashmir cut off for 2nd day

Over 1500 vehicles stranded on NH

Heavy snowfall in hills, Kashmir cut off for 2nd day

*Avalanche warning in hills of J&K

Fayaz Bukhari/
Govind Sharma
SRINAGAR/JAMMU, Jan 7:  Kashmir valley remained cut-off from rest of the country for second consecutive day today due to heavy snowfall for last four days and Meteorological department has forecast more snow and rains in the region during 24 hours.
Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained closed for traffic movement on second day due to heavy snowfall at Banihal Pass and Patnitop while at shooting stones and slides at Digdol, Panthal and other places.
A Traffic Police official said that there was heavy snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel, Patnitop and Lower Monda during the day and that hampered snow clearance operation. He said five feet snow had accumulated at Jawahar Tunnel and 16 inches at Patnitop and it was still snowing in these areas.
The official said that over 1500 vehicles including 1200 trucks  are stranded on Jammu-Srinagar National highway between Banihal and Nagrota  and in Qazigund area. He said that large number of trucks and Light Mortar Vehicles are stranded between Ramban and Kud.
He said that around 400 Jammu bound trucks are stranded at Lower Munda  and Qazigund. He, however, said that no passenger vehicle is stranded in Qazigund area as they were moved out from there yesterday.
Senior Superintendent of Police Traffic Kashmir, Fayaz Ahmad Lone told Excelsior that around 5 feet snow has accumulated in Jawahar Tunnel area, 2.6 feet in Nougam, Banihal one feet, Ramsoo 2 inches and Patnitop one feet. He said that it is still snowing in these area and snow clearance will continue during night as well at Patnitop.
Lone said that landslides occurred on highway at Peerah, Mehar, Seeri, Kela Mode,  at 3 locations in Marog, Battery Chasma, two locations at Anokhi Fall, Digdol and Khooni Nala. “However, all slides were cleared. However, at Digdol road could be cleared one way only as big sized boulders could not be completely moved”, he added.
The SSP said that 10 trucks were stranded at Nowgam, 140 passenger vehicles at Railway crossing Banihal with 350 passengers, 105 trucks at Shabnawas, 105 trucks at Ramsoo, 225 trucks at Panthyal and Digdol in Àamban, 49 passenger vehicles with 160 Passengers in Ramban, 152 trucks at Peerah, 138 trucks and 4 passenger vehicls with 20 passengers at Udhampur bypass.
And due to poor visibility, all the flights to and fro Srinagar Airport were cancelled on second consecutive day, resulting in massive inconvenience to the passengers scheduled to travel.
The Mughal Road also remained closed for traffic due to heavy snowfall. Srinagar-Leh highway, Bandipore-Gurez and other border roads remain closed due to snowfall.
Although weather showed a little improvement today, but light snowfall and rain continued intermittently throughout the day. The far-off areas of north Kashmir continue to remain cut off with district headquarters. However power scenario in Srinagar and other townships showed improvement today.
Authorities this morning cleared snow from main and other roads of Srinagar and Power Development Department (PDD) also restored power supply to majority of Srinagar and adjacent area. However, power position in North Kashmir is still grim.
Snowfall and continuous rains was also reported from Bani, Sarthal valley and Lohia Malhar for last 2 days. It has caused lot of in-connivance to people and power supply remains badly affected.
Freak weather continued in Chinab valley and mild to heavy snowfall in the upper reaches  including, Kailash Mountain Range, Padri Gali, Bhaal Padri, Braid Baal,Nehyed Chilly and Asha Pati Glacier, Bhadarwah town and it’s surrounding areas.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, today asked Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir division and other officers to take all necessary measures to ensure that normal life does not get disrupted by snowfall.
In the wake of weather advisory according to which there are chances of widespread snow/rain on January 8 and 9, the Divisional Commissioner said snow clearance machines should be kept ready at all important points. He directed the concerned to monitor the situation regularly and keep the control rooms activated for better and effective response to any exigency.
According to MeT department, there is forecast of light to moderate rain/snow in Kashmir and other parts of the State.
Authorities here issued medium danger avalanche warning today for some avalanche prone districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Chandigarh-based Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) issued medium danger avalanche warning valid for the next 24 hours starting at 5 PM today.
A SASE advisory said medium danger avalanche warning exists for avalanche prone areas in Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Doda, Poonch and Reasi districts of Jammu and Kashmir.  ”People are advised not to venture in avalanche prone areas during the warning period,” it said.
Meanwhile, Gulmarg ski resort in north Kashmir was the coldest recorded place in the state last night as the mercury plunged to minus 8.4 degrees Celsius, a drop of two degrees from previous night’s minus 6.2 degrees Celsius. Pahalgam in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4.3 degrees Celsius.
Srinagar city recorded minimum temperature of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius. Kupwara recorded a minus 0.2 degrees Celsius and  Kokernag minus 2.3 degrees Celsius.
Leh has been witnessing warmer nights as usual as the minimum temperature settled at minus 4.1 degrees Celsius.
Jammu recorded a minimum of 9.3 degree Celsius, Katra 6.8 degree Celsius, Banihal 0.0 degree Celsius, Batote 0.3 degree Celsius and Bhaderwah minus 1.0 degree Celsius.
Srinagar recorded a maximum of 2.3 degree Celsius which is four notches below normal. Qazigund  recorded 2.4  degree Celsius, Pahalgam 4.6 degree Celsius, Kokernag 3.7  degree Celsius, Kupwara 3.6 degree Celsius, Gulmarg minus 2.4 degree Celsius and Leh 4.4 degree Celsius.
Jammu recorded a maximum of 12.3 degree Celsius, Katra 8.1 degree Celsius, Banihal 1.6 degree Celsius, Batote 2.0 degree Celsius and Bhaderwah 3.2 degree Celsius.
Jammu today recorded 13.6 mm rainfall till 5.30 this evening. In comparison to yesterday, the minimum and maximum temperatures in Jammu saw some improvement, as it was recorded 8.8 and 13.9 degree Celsius, respectively.
Light snowfall was also witnessed this morning in Budhal in Rajouri but thereafter weather started improving. About 2 feet snowfall was also recorded in Trikuta Hills. The Chopper service between Katra base camp and Sanji Chhat (Shrine) also remained affected due to bad weather. However, battery cars service operated today.
Reports from Kathua said that internal roads remained closed due to bad weather, as higher reaches of the district like Bani, Lohang, Paddar, Lawar, Sarthal Valley, Chhattargala and adjoining villages saw about 2 feet snowfall this morning while rains continued to lash the plain areas.
According to IG Traffic, SA Watali, due to heavy snowfall between Batote to Patnitop, the traffic remained suspended at Jammu Srinagar National Highway. He said that their men and machinery are busy in snow clearing operation and this operation will continue during night as well.
He said that all the sliding spots on the National Highway were cleared.  However Digdol road could be made one way only as big size boulders could not be completely moved. He said that due to landslides and snowfall, Ramban -Gool and Banihal-Neel roads also remained closed.
Meanwhile, power supply remained affected in many areas of Jammu district as well as Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi, Rajouri, Poonch and Ramban districts, on second consecutive day. Most of the localities of Talab Tillo, Kot Bhalwal and remote villages of Akhnoor in Jammu district had no electricity even on second day.
Chief Scientist, SKUAST Jammu, Dr Mohinder Singh, told Excelsior that weather has started improving in many areas of Jammu region. He said that light rainfall may occur at some places of Jammu region tonight but from tomorrow, weather will start improving.
“There is no forecast for any rainfall tomorrow but the weather may remain cloudy”, Dr Singh, said, adding, from tomorrow there will be decline in minimum temperature and it might go down by 2 degree Celsius in next couple of days while at the same time the maximum temperature might go up to 18 degree Celsius.

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