Fayaz Bukhari/Gopal Sharma
SRINAGAR/ JAMMU, Jan 4: The Kashmir valley and many parts of Jammu region received fresh snowfall bringing respite to the people from intense cold weather conditions in the Valley and also disrupted the surface and air traffic while many trains were delayed due to dense fog in the region.
The heavy snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area of Pir Panjal forced the closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway this afternoon, while a large number of vehicles have been stranded on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel along the highway.
The snowfall started in the afternoon in both plains as well as hilly areas of Kashmir valley. Earlier, the rest of the places except Srinagar had received a fresh snowfall on Jan 2.
Snowfall started at around 2 pm and within half an hour, Valley was covered with a white blanket of snow and commuters were finding it difficult to move around in different parts of Srinagar city. Click here to watch video
By evening, around 1 ft of fresh snow had accumulated in Gurez, 6 inches in Gulmarg, 4 inches in Srinagar, 8 inches in Baramulla and Sopore, 3 inches in Pattan, 9 inches in Bandipora, 7 inches in Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag, 4 inches in Pulwama, 2 feet in Bangus valley in Handwara, 1 ft in Nowgam sector, 4 inches in Handwara, 5 inches in Kupwara, 1.6 feet in Lolab, 4 inches in Tangmarg and around 9 inches in Jawahar Tunnel area on the National Highway.
The snowfall disrupted traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and it was closed for traffic at around 3 pm due to slippery conditions near Jawahar Tunnel area.
The Superintendent of Police Traffic Rural, Kashmir Muzaffar Ahmad Shah, told Excelsior that in the morning traffic was allowed to ply from Srinagar to Jammu. “All the Light Motor Vehicles crossed the Jawahar Tunnel by noon but when trucks were crossing, the road at many places became slippery and they stopped the traffic. Already around 1100 trucks had crossed and around 900 were near the Jawahar Tunnel. He said that all the stranded trucks were brought back to Qazigund, away from the avalanche prone area.
SSP Traffic National Highway, Jammu Shakti Pathak said that today one way traffic from Kashmir to Jammu was allowed. But after 3 pm, due to snowfall in Pir Panjal area, the movement of traffic was stopped. He said the slippery road condition near Jawahar Tunnel and ahead of Banihal and other side of the Tunnel forced the closure of highway. Pathak said the traffic from Nagrota near Jammu and TCP Udhampur had already been stopped today. If the weather improved tomorrow, the movement of traffic from Jammu to Srinagar will be allowed.
The snowfall in Valley led to traffic jams at various places leading to chaos on the road. The snow caused slippery road conditions and commuters had to face tough time.
The snowfall also led to disruption of air- traffic at Srinagar airport this afternoon. Several flights were cancelled following snowfall and poor visibility. “Several incoming and outgoing flights from the Srinagar airport were suspended following fresh snowfall since this afternoon,” an Airport official said.
He said morning flights operated normally from the airport. Passengers, who had reached airport from different parts of the Valley, were waiting though a notice has been issued by the airport authority that there is no chance of operating any flight until weather improves.
Deputy Director Meteorological Department (MeT), Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, said that the weather would remain wet till Jan 6 (Sunday) afternoon and the higher reaches including Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam and other areas would receive fresh snowfall between January 4-6.
He said that the minimum temperature has risen in the past couple of days and it will go further up in the coming days.
The MeT official said that Srinagar recorded 3.7 degree Celsius as maximum day temperature while minimum was recorded at minus 3.2 degree Celsius; Qazigund recorded maximum of 3.8 degrees Celsius and low of minus 0.8 degrees Celsius, Kokernag registered minus 1.0 and maximum of 3.2 degrees Celsius, Pahalgam had a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius and maximum of 0.5 degrees Celsius, Gulmarg recorded the minimum of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius and maximum of minus 4 degree Celsius, Kupwara had a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius and maximum of 3.2 degrees Celsius.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan had issued an avalanche warning in the hilly areas of Kashmir valley besides sounding an alert for preparedness to meet any eventuality in the wake of a snowfall.
Khan has asked the Deputy Commissioners of all these districts to advise the people living in avalanche prone areas not to venture out during the snowfall. Besides, they have been directed to take all the precautionary measures and to keep the SDRF, Police and Para-medical staff with ambulances in readiness to deal with any untoward incident.
The winter capital Jammu today recorded a minimum temperature of 4.5 degree Celsius and maximum 20.5 deg C, holy township of Katra maximum 16.8 deg C and minimum 5.8 deg C; Bhaderwah tourist resort maximum 9.2 deg C and minimum minus 2 deg C; Kathua maximum 20.4 deg C and minimum 2.7 deg C whereas, Batote had maximum 10 deg C and minimum 1.1 deg C today.
Official sources said that due to snowfall in Srinagar, several flights operating from Jammu were also affected during afternoon while in the morning, two flights were delayed by hardly 30 minutes due to fog. He said several trains at Jammu Railway station were also delayed due to fog.
He further said that Tata Nagar- Jammu Tawi was delayed for about 7 hours, Guwahati-Jammu Tawi by about 9 hours and 30 minutes, Ahmedabad -Jammu Tawi by about 2 hours, Jammu Tawi-Guwahati departure by about 2 hours, Tata Moorie by 6 hours and 50 minutes while, ADI-JAT Express was late by about two hours. Whereas, several other trains arrived late by 30 minutes to an hour at Jammu station today due to fog. The chopper service to Katra Mata Vaishnodevi was also affected for few hours due to bad weather.