*Snowfall, rain cause havoc; NH closed
JAMMU/srinagar, Dec 12: The hilly areas of J&K experienced fresh snowfall while entire UT witnessed rain, whereas, no flights operated from Srinagar Airport for 6th consecutive day and 13 flights at Jammu were also cancelled. The snowfall and landslides led to closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway this evening.
Official sources said that Kashmir valley witnessed light rains since last night while hills experienced fresh light snowfall. The snowfall at Jawhar Tunnel led to the slippery road conditions forcing authorities to close the NH-44 this evening. There are around 1500 trucks stranded at Qazigund, which got struck there after snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area.
On the 6th consecutive day, the flight operation remained suspended at Srinagar Airport while at Jammu Airport, 13 flights were cancelled today. Since Saturday, not a single flight landed or took off from Srinagar Airport and 11 flights were cancelled on Friday due to fog and poor visibility at Srinagar Airport. Since Friday, 179 fights were cancelled and thousands of passengers stranded at various places, an official spokesman said.
The snowfall in the hills since yesterday led to closure of Srinagar-Leh National Highway and Mughal Road for traffic. There was around two feet snow in Zojila area on Srinagar-Leh National Highway and around 1.5 feet at Pir Ki Gali on Mughal road this evening. It was snowing heavily this evening in the hilly areas of the entire J&K UT. Srinagar-Leh National Highway had opened for traffic on December 8 after remaining closed for 16 days.
Meteorological Department had forecast light snowfall in the hilly areas of J&K for today and heavy to moderate snowfall for next two days.
Meanwhile, cold weather conditions continued in Kashmir today with minimum temperature staying subzero but with slight improvement.
Srinagar recorded maximum of 5.9 degrees Celsius and minimum of minus 0.7 degree Celsius temperature. Gulmarg, the world famous ski resort recorded maximum of 0.6 degree Celsius and maximum of minus 5.2 degree Celsius. Pahalgam recorded maximum of 1.1 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 1.3 degree Celsius, Qazigund maximum of 4.0 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 0.8 degree Celsius, Kokernag maximum of 3.2 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 1.2 degree Celsius while Kupwara had maximum of 6.5 degree Celsius and minimum of 0.8 degree Celsius temperature.
A MeT spokesman said that Jammu recorded a maximum temperature of 15.2 degree Celsius and minimum of 10.5 degree C, Banihal maximum 9.4 degree Celsius and minimum of 3.6 degree Celsius, Batote recorded a maximum of 8.4 degree Celsius and minimum of 4.2 degree Celsius while holy township of Katra recorded maximum of 13.6 degree Celsius and minimum of 9.4 degree Celsius temperature today.
Leh recorded maximum of 1.6 degree Celsius and minimum of minus 10.6 degree Celsius and Dras maximum minus 4.9 Degree Celsius and minimum of minus 14.4 Degree Celsius.
Heavy rain in Jammu city since this evening paralyzed normal life while the water logging in various city localities disrupted the movement of traffic. A sharp fall in night temperature has been witnessed in the region. Entire region has come under the grip of cold wave.
It was snowing at tourist resorts of Bhaderwah, Patnitop, Natha Top, Sanasar, Latti, Dudu and Basantgarh besides parts of Poonch, Rajouri, Kishtwar, Ramban and Reasi. Many link roads have been closed due to snowfall.
A MeT spokesman said that rain and snowfall would continue for the next 24 hours across J&K while the weather will improve after December 15. He said more snowfall may occur in various hilly areas of Jammu division and parts of Kashmir tomorrow. Avalanche warnings have already been issued by the district administrations.
IGP Traffic, J&K, Alok Kumar said that after 5 pm, due to snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area, the movement of vehicles was stopped from both the sides. He said scores of LMVs have been stranded at Banihal and Ramban, while movement of heavy vehicles from Kashmir side towards Jammu was stopped.
He said reports of shooting stones between Ramban and Banihal were received late this evening and no movement of vehicles in this sector from Udhampur to Qazigund or opposite direction was allowed. Due to 5-6 inch snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel, the movement was vehicles was stopped at around 5 pm. The snowfall was still going on there, he added.
SSP National Highway, JS Johar said that highway has been closed due to inclement weather and snowfall. He said no movement will be allowed till the highway is restored. He advised the road users to follow the advisory.
Johar said the Traffic Police will issue the travel advisory after assessment of road and weather conditions as and when it be comes feasible.
Reports further said that chopper service from Katra to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine was also suspended due to bad weather during the day while Yatra continued despite rain. The power supply to Bani, Machhedi, Lohai -Malhar in Kathua and other parts of the region has been effected due to rain and snowfall. Many passes have been closed due to snowfall in the region, the reports said.