Srinagar/ Jammu, Feb 3: The higher reaches of Kashmir and Jammu division today received season’s fresh snowfall forcing the authorities to close Jammu-Srinagar National Highway due to slippery conditions at Jawahar Tunnel and Patnitop this afternoon.
Due to continuous rain many areas of Jammu region including Trikuta hills of Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine, Patnitop, Bhaderwah, parts of Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Rajouri and Poonch also experienced fresh snow fall, forcing closer of several link roads. The power supply to many rural areas has also been badly hit due to rain and snowfall.
The Director Meteorological Department Kashmir, Sonum Lotus, told Excelsior that many places in the higher reaches of Kashmir and Ladakh, including Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Banihal and Drass, Leh received fresh snowfall and other places including Jammu received rains since last night.
The Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) today issued medium danger avalanche warning for next 24 hours in hilly areas of Sonamarg, Drass, Kargil, Zojila, Khilanmarg, Uri, Baramulla, Kupwara, Tangdhar, Keran and Machil. People living in these avalanche prone areas are advised to take precautions.
Inspector General of Police Traffic, Muneer Ahmad Khan, told Excelsior that it was snowing heavily between Jawahar Tunnel and Qazigund sector of the National Highway leading to slippery conditions. “The traffic on this portion of the highway was closed in the evening but not before 1500 load carriers and 1200 Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) including passenger vehicles, crossed the Jawahar Tunnel”, he added.
Khan said that if weather permits traffic will ply from Jammu to Srinagar tomorrow. “But the final decision will be taken tomorrow morning”, he added.
The movement of vehicular traffic on Udhampur-Kud-Batotre section of the highway was also stopped after 3.30 pm due fresh snowfall and slippery conditions. The GREF authorities then pressed snow cutters and other machines to clear the road and the traffic was restored on this section after two hours, a senior Traffic official said.
The rain and snowfall at Pir Ki Gali on Thana Mandi-Bafliaz road of Rajouri and Poonch forced the closure of road today. The traffic on Mandi Loran section in Poonch has also been suspended. Another report from Doda said that many link roads in Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Doda and Ramban area were closed due to rain and snow.
Reports of shooting stones in Ramban and Ramsoo area of National Highway were received this evening. But at some places the GREF men and machinery cleared the slides. Though Bhimber Gali (pass) in Poonch also experienced fresh snowfall, yet the Army authorities ensured movement of traffic this evening as their buldozers continued snow clearance work even during bad weather, the sources said.
The rain and fresh snowfall and overcast conditions led to an increase in the minimum temperature across Kashmir and parts of Jammu region today. Gulmarg recorded six inch snowfall while there was moderate snow at several places in the hills along the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir.
A MeT official said that Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 1.8 degrees Celsius, over one degree up from the previous night’s 0.3 degrees Celsius while day temperature settled at 7.2 degree Celsius. Jammu recorded a minimum temperature of 12 .3 degree Celsius and maximum 15.6 degree Celsius today.
The mercury in Qazigund, South Kashmir, settled at 0.8 degrees Celsius, up by over six notches from minus 5.6 degrees Celsius the previous night while day temperature settled at 7 degree Celsius.
The night temperature in Pahalgam increased by over three degrees to settle at a low of 0.2 degree Celsius as against minus 3.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, and the day temperature settled at 2.3 degree Celsius.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 3.2 degrees Celsius, same as the previous night and day temperature settled at minus 1 degree Celsius.
The mercury in Kokernag, South Kashmir, went up by over three degrees from the previous night’s minimum of minus 3.7 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 0.1 degrees Celsius last night while day temperature settled at 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Kupwara, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of 0.4 degrees Celsius and day temperature settled at 1. 7 degrees Celsius.
Leh recorded a low of minus 6.4 degrees Celsius, over three degrees up from the previous night’s minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while day temperature settled at 7.6 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Kargil town jumped by almost 10 degrees to settle at a low of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius as compared to minus 19.0 degrees Celsius the previous night while day temperature settled at minus 0.8 degrees Celsius.