Jammu’s temp breaks record of 40 yrs; all flights cancelled, train-services hit

A passenger walks through dense fog at Jammu Railway Station on Monday morning. —Excelsior/Rakesh
A passenger walks through dense fog at Jammu Railway Station on Monday morning. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Dec 30: The day temperature in winter capital city-Jammu, today broke all the past records of over 40 years while night temperature here was the lowest so far during this season whereas, amid cold wave conditions, dense fog and poor visibility, all the flights at Jammu Airport were cancelled and the train-services remained badly affected.
Dr Mahinder Kumar, Chief Scientist, Agro-metrology Department of SKUAST-Jammu disclosed that Chatha observatory of Jammu today recorded 8.0 Degree Celsius day temperature which is lowest so far. He disclosed that as per the last 40 years’ record available with SKUAST, Dec 30, 2019 was the coldest day so far. Only once, on December 31, 2013, Jammu recorded a maximum temperature of 8.1 Degree Celsius.

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The SKUAST Scientist further disclosed that 2.4 degree Celsius night temperature in Jammu, is also the lowest of the season so far. On December 29, 2018 and December 27, 2014 also, Jammu recorded the same temperature. On December 30, 2012, Jammu had recorded 0.1 degree Celsius temperature which was the lowest during past over 40 years, he added.
Director Airport Authority, Jammu, Dr Parbhat Ranjan said that due to dense fog and poor visibility throughout the day today, no flight operation could take place at Jammu Airport. He said no flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Srinagar or other destinations, could land or take off from here today. Several Jammu bound flights were diverted to Srinagar where flight- operation remained almost normal.
Dr Ranjan further said there was hardly 50 to 150 meter visibility today at Jammu airport while it needs at least 1.3 km clear visibility for landing an aircraft. It was perhaps for the first time during last few years that all flights could not operate due to dense foggy conditions here, Dr Ranjan maintained.
A Northern Railway spokesman said that due to dense fog and bad weather train- traffic was badly affected in J&K Punjab, Harayana, Delhi and parts of UP during past 12 hours.
He disclosed that Tata Moori train was late at Jammu Station by 7 hours, Hemkund Express by 3 hours, Utter Samprak Kranti by five and half hours, Delhi-Jammu Rajdani by 3 hours, Jhelum Express by 5 hrs, Himgiri by six hours, Begumpura Exp by three and half hours, Jammu Mail by 6 hrs, Bathinda-Jammu, Duranto and Puja Express by three and half hours, Shalimar Express by an hour while Bandhe Bharat arrived late by an hour and 30 minutes at Katra Railway Station today from Delhi.
Meanwhile, cold wave continued to tighten its grip across Jammu and Kashmir with the winter capital, Jammu, recording the season’s coldest night while Srinagar shivering at minus 6.5 degrees Celsius. There was no relief from the bone-chilling cold for the residents of the Union Territory of J&K.
In Srinagar, the mercury continued its record-breaking spree as the city experienced the coldest night of the season so far at minus 6.5 degrees Celsius on Monday.
The minimum temperature in Jammu marked a dip of 3.3 degrees compared to the previous night to settle at 2.4 degrees Celsius — five notches below normal during this part of the season, a MeT office official said.
Srinagar recorded the low of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius Sunday night – down from minus 6.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, he said, adding it was the coldest night of the season so far in the city, leading to freezing of the fringes of the Dal Lake and other water bodies as well as water supply lines at several places.
The night temperature in Srinagar, which has been witnessing clear skies and some sunshine during the day, is over four degrees below the normal for this part of the season, the official said.
The ski-resort of Gulmarg in Kashmir recorded the low of minus 7.8 degrees Celsius last night – down from the previous night’s minus 6.6 degrees Celsius, he said.
The night temperature at Pahalgam, settled at a low of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius as against minus 10.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday, he said.
Pahalgam, was in fact the coldest recorded place in the Valley, he added.
The official said Qazigund – the gateway town to the Valley recorded a low of minus 9.3 degrees Celsius – slightly up from minus 9.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday; Kokernag town, also in south, recorded a low of minus 7.3 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in north, registered the minimum of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Leh town, in the Ladakh Union Territory, recorded a low of minus 20.1 degrees Celsius – down from the previous night’s minus 19.0 degrees Celsius. Drass town of Kargil froze at a low of minus 28.8 degrees Celsius.
The MeT office has forecast light to moderate rains and snowfall in the Union Territory over the first week of the new year which is likely to bring respite from the cold wave conditions.
“There is possibility of light rains or snowfall across Kashmir for a few days from December 31 and fresh spell of rain in the plains and snowfall in higher reaches in the Jammu region,” the official said.
He said while there is forecast of scattered rains or snowfall on December 31 and January 1, there is possibility of fairly-widespread rainfall or snow on January 2 which may continue till January 3 in the Valley. There is possibility of another wet spell – of higher intensity – during January 5 and 6, he added.
In the Jammu region, the snow-bound Banihal town along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was the coldest recorded place with a low of minus 1.6 degree Celsius followed by Bhaderwah in Doda district at minus 0.2 degree Celsius.
Katra town, which serves as the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine, marked an improvement of one degree in the night temperature which settled at 4.4 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s 3.3 degrees Celsius, the official added.
Meanwhile, keeping in view the prevailing weather conditions and frequent occurrence of snow at various spots on Batote-Kishtiwar highway district administration Doda has issued a travel advisory under which it has advised to the people not to accelerate the speed of their vehicles over 20-30 km/hr and to restrict the movement of their vehicles particularly in wee hours till the weather conditions improves.
DC Doda, Dr Sagar D Doifode directed GM NHIDCL to restore all the blocked drains if any on the highway which not only cause damage to the road but also becomes slippery having the potential cause of accidents.
He also directed to the concerned authorities to take appropriate and necessary action at their end to ensure salting on such patches which can put the precious life of people in danger.
Further PHE department was directed to get the leakage of pipes repaired on roads, if any, with immediate effect so that the risk of road accidents can be reduced.
Chief Engineer Mughal Road Project has said that the Mughal Road will remain closed for vehicular traffic from December 30, 2019 between Chandimarh to Heerpora. He said the road has been closed for the safety of the commuters as the road surface has turned slippery due to sharp drop in temperatures and frost conditions. No movement of vehicles will be allowed on this road till further orders.
Due to landslides at Madol in Magiar area, Basohli-Bani Road has also been blocked for the last two days and the traffic could not be restored till this evening.