Heavy snowfall in North Kashmir, coldest day in Srinagar

A view of snowfall in Baramulla on Thursday.
A view of snowfall in Baramulla on Thursday.

Fayaz Bukhari/ Adil Lateef

SRINAGAR, Jan 5:North Kashmir received heavy snowfall today while Srinagar received light snowfall and the day temperature in the summer capital plummeted to season’s lowest at 2.5 degree Celsius.
The Razdhan pass in Bandipora received 4 feet of snow, Gurez 2.5 feet, Bandipora town 5 inch, Gulmarg 2.6 feet, Tangmarg 15 inch, Kunzar 6 inch, Chandoosa 9 inch, Bijhama in Boniyar area of Baramulla 5 inch, Baramulla town 6 inch, Bangus in Handwara 5 feet, Vudar Bala in Handwara 1.6 feet, Handwara town 1 feet, Toot Mari Gali (TMG) 2.6 feet, Keran in Kupwara 3 feet, Machil in Kupwara 3 feet, Karana in Kupwara 3 feet and Kupwara 6 inch.
The traffic on almost all main roads remained suspended today as there was no snow clearance on these roads. The roads were slippery and motorists had to face tough time. The residents said that district administration failed to clear the roads.
A man died while clearing snow in Gurez area Bandipora district a labourer died near an under construction dam site in Malik Kadal area of Gurez.
There was fresh snowfall in all upper reaches of the Valley including Pir Ki Gali, Pahalgam, Jawahar Tunnel, Zojila and Sonamarg.
According to Meteorological Department, there will be widespread rain and snowfall in Kashmir during next 24 hours and cold wave will intensify.
Mughal road connecting south Kashmir with Poonch in Pir Panjal area remained closed on the fourth consecutive day today due to snowfall. Srinagar-Leh highway also remained closed today due to fresh snowfall.
Despite rains and snowfall for last two days, the traffic department today said that the traffic on 300 km long National Highway will ply on either side on Friday.
Srinagar recorded the coldest day of the season today with day temperature plummeting to maximum of 2.5 degree Celsius.
Qazigund  recorded 7.7 degree Celsius, Pahalgam 3.5 degree Celsius, Kokernag 7.7 degree Celsius, Kupwara 2.9 degree Celsius, Gulmarg minus 2.5 degree Celsius, Leh 3.5  degree Celsius and Kargil 4.8 degree Celsius as maximum day temperature.
Jammu recorded a maximum of 23.7 degree Celsius, Katra 18.4 degree Celsius, Banihal 8.8 degree Celsius, Batote 11.1 degree Celsius and Bhaderwah 8.4 degree Celsius.
Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.3 degree Celsius, Pahalgam minus 1.6 degrees Celsius and Gulmarg minus 5.2 degrees Celsius.
Qazigund recorded a minimum of 0.6 degree Celsius, Kokernag minus 1.4 degree Celsius, Kupwara minus 1.4 degree Celsius, Leh town minus 6.7degree Celsius and Kargil minus 10.2 degree Celsius as the minimum temperature today.
Jammu city recorded 12 degrees Celsius, Katra 9.8 degrees Celsius, Batote 3.7 degrees Celsius, Banihal minus 1.2 degrees Celsius and Bhaderwah town witnessed 0.8 degrees Celsius as the night’s lowest temperature.
Meanwhile, Star tourist attraction and skiing resort Gulmarg in Northern Kashmir is upbeat with tourists after season’s first snowfall while Tourism Department is all set to hold a snow festival from January 22.
Over 5 month long dry spell in Kashmir had dashed hopes of tourism stakeholders in the region as earlier the summer unrest had badly affected the tourist season and now dry spell was hindering return of domestic and international tourists in the Valley.
With western disturbances approaching Kashmir earlier this week, the five-month long dry spell in the region ended on Tuesday this week and the upper reaches of the Valley received heavy to moderate snow while plains witnessed precipitation as well as light snowfall. Gulmarg, which is known for its skiing-slopes, lush green woods and sky-touching heights, also received moderate snowfall and it continued today intermittently as well.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA), Shafqat Iqbal, said the much-awaited snowfall has brought cheers on the tourism players and stakeholders in Gulmarg and tourist flow has increased from last couple of days. He said the hotel occupancy has increased and the Tourism Department is all set now to hold ‘snow festival’ on January 22.
“There were 200-250 people in Gulmarg on Tuesday and Wednesday. The tourist arrival is increasing and smile on the faces of all tourism stakeholders including hoteliers, pony wallas, sledge drivers and transporters. People are happy and tourists are enjoying. As of now we have over 1.5 feet of snow that has accumulated,” the CEO of GDA said. He further said that advance bookings are also being registered and entire Gulmarg is upbeat while ongoing snowfall has added to the enthusiasm of tourists and stakeholders.
In the meadows of Gulmarg, the tourists and local visitors were seen enjoying sledge riding, skiing and skating. Besides, the tourists were seen enjoying rides of powerful All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and snow scooters. The Tourism Department, in order to attract more and more tourists, is now holding ‘snow festival’ in Gulmarg rom January 22.
An official said during 15-day snow festival, the Department will hold multiple programmes and games that include skiing, hot air balloon, snow cycling, snow zorbing, racing competition for kids, sculpture competition, ice skating, ice hockey while night market will feature Kashmiri cuisine and handloom. “We hope more and more tourists will arrive as the dry spell has finally ended and we have snow here now. We request them to come and enjoy the natural beauty of Gulmarg which is also called ‘Switzerland of Asia’,” he said.