New Year begins with chill, mercury further dips

Fayaz Bukhari/ Gopal Sharma
SRINAGAR/JAMMU, Jan 1: The New Year for Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu region began on chilly note with night temperatures recorded much below freezing point and Weatherman forecasts a further dip in the night temperature during rest of the week.
The dense fog continued to create havoc in plain areas of Jammu region, affecting badly the train and vehicular traffic while two flights were cancelled due to bad weather.
A special Indian Air Force flight, IL-76 was operated between Leh and Jammu and arrived with 203 stranded passengers from Leh and Kargil areas. A special flight from Jammu airport also lifted nearly 50 Kargil bound passengers.
After the night temperatures hovered above freezing point for past one week, the minimum temperature was recorded today at 2.5 degrees Celsius in summer capital Srinagar. However, the day temperature showed improvement and was recorded at 8.1 degree Celsius.
The coldest night of the season was recorded on December 23 at minus 4 degrees Celsius while the coldest day of the season was on December 29 when the day temperature plummeted to 3.1 degree Celsius.
At the tourist resort of Gulmarg that was packed with tourists on New Year’s eve, the night temperature was recorded at minus 8.2 degree Celsius. The night temperature in Pahalgam was minus 5.4 while day temperature was recorded at 10.8 degrees Celsius.
The cold wave conditions in the winter capital, Jammu continued today with minimum temperatures recorded at 7.3 degree Celsius and day temperature was recorded at 12.8 degree Celsius. The night temperature continued to go down for the last couple of days.
Director, Meteorological Department, Sonam Lotus said that weather would remain dry during the next few days in Kashmir. He said the night temperature is likely to fall further while there would be a gradual rise in the day temperatures during the next few days.
Lotus said that except for the haze in the morning, days would be sunny in the Valley while foggy weather conditions would prevail in Jammu city.
Meanwhile, in view of foggy conditions, most of the trains arrived late here and their departure was also delayed for hours together. A Railways spokesman said that Himgiri which arrived here 18 hours late, left for its destination today at a 2.25 pm. It was scheduled to departure from Jammu Station at 11.45 pm yesterday.
Pooja Express was nearly 10 hours late, Malwa by six hours, Tata Moori five hours. Swaraj by three hours. Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Udhampur by two hours, Amarnath and Jhelum by one and half hours, Gorakhpur Express by two hours and so on. The departure timings of most of these trains have been rescheduled and passengers are badly affected. In chilling cold conditions, they have to wait for hours together at the Station.
Heavy rush of passengers has been witnessed not only at Jammu Railway Station but also at Bus Stand due to one way operation of the vehicular traffic between Jammu and Srinagar. The operation of inter-state buses has also been affected with the continued fog in parts of region for the last over one week now. The buses operating between Delhi-Jammu, Chandigarh-Jammu, Haridwar- Jammu etc are also arriving 3 to 6 hours late due to fog and poor visibility conditions.
DIG Traffic, Shakeel Beig said that Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was through and one way traffic continued to ply from Jammu to Srinagar today. He said tomorrow down convoy from Srinagar to Jammu will be allowed. Some relaxation has been given in the operation of vehicles fetching kerosene oil, LPG, petrol/diesel etc, Mr Beig added.
SP Airport Jammu Ashok Sharma said that all the flights except Air Mantra operated today from Jammu airport. Some morning flights were delayed due to fog and poor visibility but out of the 17, 15 flights operated today. He said special IAF flight between Leh and Jammu was operated to clear the stranded passengers in Leh-Kargil area today.

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