Fresh snowfall in Kashmir, flights cancelled

Srinagar turns white after fresh snowfall on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Shakeel
Srinagar turns white after fresh snowfall on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Shakeel

Srinagar records season’s coldest day
Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Jan 16: Parts of Kashmir received a fresh snowfall today disrupting the air traffic but Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained open for traffic as there was no snowfall in South Kashmir and the Weatherman has forecast freak weather conditions across the Valley till January 23.
The fresh snowfall in North and Central Kashmir disrupted the normal life in these areas. No flight landed or took off from Srinagar airport due to snowfall that started this morning and continued till evening in the plains. However, the snowfall continued in the hills of North and Central Kashmir.
Click here to watch video
Srinagar witnessed 2 inches of snowfall while Baramulla, Sopore around 6 inches and Kupwara witnessed around one feet.
The hills including the ski resort of Gulmarg received around 1.5 feet of snowfall. Manigam in Ganderbal witnessed 6 inches snowfall, Gangangheer in Ganderbal one feet and Sonamarg 1.5 feet. It was snowing in the hills till late tonight.
Authorities at Srinagar Airport said that the flights to and from Srinagar were suspended in view of the prevailing weather conditions as well as the poor visibility. Hundreds of passengers were waiting at the Airport but had to return back.
The Border Roads Organization (BRO) with their hi-tech snow clearance equipment continuously cleared the runway off snow since morning to keep the runway ready for landing. “Although the snowfall was not very heavy, but its continuity fused with the low temperature led to ice formation on the runway that required continuous snow clearance for the safety of flights,” said Captain Kaushal of 122 RCC of Beacon.
The National Highway was, however, open for one-way traffic from Srinagar to Jammu today and there was no disruption in it as there was no snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area. The Traffic Police has said that traffic will ply from Jammu to Srinagar tomorrow subject to fair weather.
And the commuters in rest of the Valley found it difficult to drive on roads due to the slippery conditions caused by the fresh snowfall. The vehicles were seen skidding on the roads amid fresh snowfall.
The Traffic Police City Srinagar also said that due to fresh snowfall, all roads in City Srinagar have become slippery and issued an advisory to the commuters in this regard.
“Commuters are advised to drive slow, avoid sudden brakes, avoid fast turning, overtaking, follow traffic rules, minimize use of two-wheeler and keep distance,” Traffic police City Srinagar said.
The officials also asked the people to call on TRPC: 0194-2450022, Toll Free No. 18001807091 and SSP (T) Office: 0194-2455179 in case of any assistance.
Director of Meteorological Department (MeT), Sonum Lotus said that the light rains as well as snowfall was predicted by the department earlier. “The reports of moderate snowfall were received from some places in Kashmir today,” he said.
He said that the weather would remain mostly cloudy in Kashmir from Jan 18-19, saying that from Jan 19 evening onwards, there is possibility of light rains and snowfall at isolate places.
Lotus said that the MeT has forecast highly dynamic weather till Jan 23 in Kashmir. “From Jan 20-23, there is possibility of moderate rains and snowfall across the Valley,” he said, adding that the surface as well as the road traffic would also get affected due to the snow spell.
Meanwhile, the state administration claimed to have adequate measures to ensure basic facilities and road clearance during and in the aftermath of fresh snowfall.
Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan has issued fresh avalanche warning for nine avalanche prone districts of the division.
The warning has been issued for the avalanche prone areas of Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh districts.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has directed the Deputy Commissioners of all these districts to advise the people living in avalanche prone areas not to venture out to avoid any untoward incident.
The Divisional Commissioner also directed the concerned DCs to take all the precautionary measures and to keep the SDRF, Police and Para-medical staff with ambulances in readiness to avert any untoward incident.
And in the meantime, temperatures across Kashmir dipped today and Srinagar recorded coldest day of the season.
The minimum temperature was minus 2.1 degrees Celsius in Srinagar today while the maximum temperature was recorded at 1.0 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature stood at minus 2.9 degrees Celsius in Qazigund while the maximum temperature was 2.2 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature was minus 4.2 degrees Celsius in Pahalgam while the maximum temperature was recorded at minus 1.6 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature stood at minus 5.6 degrees Celsius in Kupwara while the maximum temperature was recorded at 0.8 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature was minus 3.0 degrees Celsius in Kokernag while the maximum temperature stood at 1.1 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature was minus 6.0 degrees Celsius in Gulmarg while the maximum temperature was minus 2.4 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature was minus 10.1 degrees Celsius in Leh while the maximum temperature was recorded at minus 0.3 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature was minus 20. 0 degrees Celsius in Kargil while the maximum temperature was recorded at minus 4.9 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, overcast conditions led to an increase in the night temperature across the Jammu region which, however, reeled under cold wave conditions with sun hidden behind the clouds, a MeT official said today.
The minimum temperature in Jammu city appreciated by several notches to settle at 6.2 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s 3.5 degrees Celsius, a spokesman of the Meteorological Department (MeT) said.
Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, recorded a low of 7 degrees Celsius, an increase of 1.7 degrees Celsius from the previous night, he said.
The snow-bound Bhadarwah township in Doda district, which was reeling under sub-zero temperature, recorded a minimum of 0.6 degrees Celsius, while Banihal and Batote along Jammu-Srinagar national highway recorded a night temperature of 1.6 and 3.1 degrees Celsius, respectively, the spokesman said.
The increase in the minimum temperature was due to the overcast conditions, the spokesman said, adding that the maximum temperature is likely to dip across the region as the sun remains behind clouds.