23 flights cancelled, 2000 vehicles stranded as NH remains blocked

A house damaged due to windstorm in Gandoh area of Doda on Tuesday. Another pic on page 11. -Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary
A house damaged due to windstorm in Gandoh area of Doda on Tuesday. Another pic on page 11. -Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary

4 rescued from Ujh river, houses damaged
*Snowfall in Srinagar, KU postpones exams
Gopal Sharma

JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Feb 20: Four persons were rescued from flooded Ujh river, dozens of houses were damaged in Gandoh, Rajouri and Poonch areas while about 2000 vehicles were stranded on the road as the strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, following landslides at over a dozen places in Ramban sector.
Srinagar City received the second snowfall of the season, while higher reaches had the heavy snowfall, leading to cancellation of 23 flights at Srinagar Airport. It also affected the flight operation at Jammu Airport.
Continuous rain is hampering the road clearance operations at the affected areas between Ramban and Banihal sectors. The Traffic Police authorities have advised the people to avoid taking journey till further updates.
“The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway (NH-44) is blocked due to landslides, mudslides and shooting of stones and boulders from hillocks at Dalwas, Peerha, Mehad, Cafeteria Morh, Jaiswal bridge, Trishul Morh, Seri, T2 Tunnel, Monkey Morh, Mom Passi, Gangroo, Hingni, Marog, Kishtwari Pather, Shelghari, Rampari, Tabela and Chambalbas “ a Traffic department official said.

SRINAGAR, FEB 20 (UNI) :- Mother protect their kids from snow during a fresh snowfall in Srinagar on Tuesday. UNI PHOTO-35U

On Monday, the traffic on this busy highway was suspended around 9.30 am, following landslides triggered by heavy rains in Dalwas, Mehad, Cafeteria Morh, Chambalwas, Shelgadi and Gangroo area. Over 2000 trucks/ tankers and other vehicles reported to have stranded at Nagrota Bypass, Udhampur, Bypass, Dhar Road, Chenanim Nashri, Chanderkote, Ramban, Banihal and Qazigund area along the highway.
SSP National Highway Rohit Baskotra said that highway was still blocked due to shooting stones, mudslides and landslides at several places between Banihal and Nashri area. He said it was raining and no fresh traffic was allowed from Kashmir or Jammu side today. He said the Batote-Doda-Kishtwar road was, however, made operational after brief closure.
A Meteorological department spokesman said the Banihal town along the highway received 83.6 mm of rainfall during the 24 hours ending 8.30 am Tuesday.
Bhaderwah in Doda district received a rainfall of 58.8 mm followed by Batote in Ramban (49.6 mm), the spokesman said, adding Katra town – the base camp for pilgrims visiting Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district – recorded 16.2 mm rain during the period.
The Jammu city received a rainfall of 5.6 mm rainfall till 8.30 am, the spokesman said, forecasting widespread rains at most places during the day followed by isolated rains till February 25 except February 23.
He added that Jammu recorded a maximum temperature of 17.5 degrees Celsius and minimum 13.4 degrees, Katra maximum 12.7 and minimum 9.7, Bhaderwah town maximum 5.2 and minimum 1.6 while Banihal maximum 3.0 deg C and minimum 2.0 degree Celsius.
SKUAST-Jammu has advised farmers not to allow water stagnate in the wheat, mustard and gram fields in the region.
Meanwhile, amid continuous rain and snow, the authorities on Tuesday issued an avalanche warning in the higher reaches of ten districts in Jammu and Kashmir during the next 24 hours.
The Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority (JKDMA) said a “low danger” level avalanche is likely to occur at 2200 metres above sea level in the higher reaches of Anantnag and Kulgam districts of south Kashmir in the next 24 hours.
Avalanche with “medium danger” level is likely to occur above 2400 metres over Bandipora and Baramulla districts of north Kashmir during the next 24 hours.
Similarly, an avalanche with “high danger” level is likely to occur above 2000 metres over Kupwara in north Kashmir and Ganderbal in central Kashmir and Doda, Kishtwar, Poonch and Ramban district of Jammu division in the next 24 hours.
People living in these areas have been advised to take precautions and avoid venturing in the avalanche prone areas till further orders.
The upper reaches of the Jammu and Kashmir is experiencing a fresh snowfall for the past two days prompting authorities to issue a fresh avalanche warning as a precautionary measure for the people today.
The authorities have also asked the people living in these districts to dial 112 for help in case of any emergency.
Reports from Kathua said that a team of SDRF rescued three labourers  and a driver trapped in the flash flood of Ujh river. Due to heavy rainfall in the upper reaches during last night, the flash flood took place in Ujh river and three labourers besides a Tipper driver, working in the construction of a bridge, were trapped in the flood.
A rescue team led by incharge  Pardeep Kumar  of SDRF , assisted by police immediately rushed to the spot and rescued them with the help of  crane and ropes. Two of them were identified as Surjeet Lal son of Chhaju Ram from Ladwal and Kamal Kumar, son of Ram Chand from Chhani Datyal, Kathua.
A report from Gandoh said that it was raining amidst fresh snowfall in entire Bhalessa area since yesterday. Two houses and a school building got damaged in rain, snowfall and wind storm. SDM Gandoh and Tehsildar visited the sites and took stock of the situation. With the help of locals and police, the families were shifted to other houses.
Reports from Rajouri said that the house of one Zarait Khan was damaged due to windstorm in Khablan area of Thannamandi today. The family was shifted to another house in the neighbourhood. Another house was damaged due to windstorm in Mendhar area of Poonch. Reports of damage to some more houses has been reported from Surankote and Mandi areas, an official said.
The chopper service and battery car operation at Katra Mata Vaishnodevi remained suspended due to bad weather, However, onfoot pilgrimage remained smooth despite rain.
Srinagar, which has been lashed by rain since yesterday, witnessed moderate snowfall today. A few inches of snow accumulated in Srinagar leading to slippery road conditions and water -logging at places. The snowfall in the city led to snail’s pace of traffic with traffic jams at few places.
The snowfall and low visibility led to the cancellation of at least 23 flights at Srinagar Airport. Director Srinagar International Airport, Javid Anjum said that 11 flights were operated while 23 were cancelled due to the bad weather conditions. “The flight operation has been completely suspended now,” he said.
Heavy snowfall continued in Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Gurez, Machil and other hilly areas of the Valley.It has been snowing in hills of Kashmir since yesterday with Sadnatop in Kupwara accumulating 3.8 feet of snow, Z-Gali 4.7 feet and FurkiaTop 4.8 feet; Dander in Bandipora had 4.2 feet of snow, Gurez 3.6 feet, Razdan Top 5 feet and Tulail 4.2 feet; Gulmarg 3.8 feet, Kongdoori 4.5 feet, Babareshi 1.7 feet, Tangmarg 1.3 feet and nine inches in Baramulla Kandi.
A fresh Western Disturbance (WD) started affecting J&K on February 18 and under its influence, many areas received fresh snowfall for the third consecutive day while after receiving rains for two straight days, Srinagar experienced a fresh snowfall today.
The weatherman however, has predicted the improvement in weather conditions from Wednesday afternoon.
Due to the fresh wet spell, the major roads and highways including Mughal Road, Bandipora-Gurez Road and others continued to remain closed for vehicular movement.
In wake of the prevailing weather conditions, the authorities in the University of Kashmir postponed all examinations scheduled for tomorrow.
“It is notified for the information of all concerned candidates that due to inclement weather conditions, all examinations of University of Kashmir which are scheduled to be held on 21st of February 2024 stand postponed. Fresh dates shall be issued soon,” KU officials said.
Authorities in Islamia College have also postponed the examinations scheduled for tomorrow. “In continuation to this office notification No/ICS/Exam: 563/D2-20 dated 06.02.2023 the examination of UG 6th Semester (batch 2020 backlog) scheduled on 21.02.2024 (Wednesday) is postponed and shall now be held on 24.02.2024 (Saturday),” the official handout said.
Besides, all the internal/practical/Continuous assessment examination scheduled on 21.02.2024 stands postponed. Fresh dates shall be communicated to the students by the respective departments, it added.
A MeT official said that in view of heavy to very heavy snowfall over few middle and higher reaches during the last 2 days, the travelers and tourists are advised to follow administration and traffic police advisory.
“General public over hilly areas are advised not to venture in Avalanche prone areas and sloppy areas,” he added.
Meanwhile, Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.7°C against 2.0°C the previous night; Qazigund recorded 0.0°C against 36°C the previous night, Pahalgam a low of minus 0.5°C against 0.8°C the previous night while Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 4.0°C against minus 2.8°C the previous night and the temperature was above normal by 2.7°C for the skiing resort.
Srinagar recorded a maximum of 3. 0 degree Celsius temperature today, Qazigund 3.9  degree, Pahalgam 1. 4 degree Celsius, Kupwara 3.5 degree while Gulmarg recorded a maximum of minus 2.0 degree Celsius which is 3.1 degree Celsius below normal for the place during this time of the year.