Snowfall disrupts air traffic

A mesmerizing snow bound view of world famous ski resort of Gulmarg in Kashmir on Thursday. (UNI)
A mesmerizing snow bound view of world famous ski resort of Gulmarg in Kashmir on Thursday. (UNI)

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Feb 4: After overnight fresh snowfall, the night temperatures across Kashmir stayed above freezing for the first time in two months bringing respite to people from intense cold weather conditions.
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Amid overnight cloud cover, the minimum temperatures rose considerably across Kashmir valley with mercury increasing to above the sub-zero level in Srinagar. The respite from the severe cold seems short-lived as the Meteorological Department has forecast dry weather for the next one week with 2-3 degrees Celsius drop in the mercury from tomorrow.
Director Meteorological Department Sonam Lotus said: “While light to moderate rain/snow occurred at most places of J&K during past 24 hours, significant improvement in the weather is expected from today afternoon,” he said.
“Mainly dry weather is expected for next one week and expect minimum temperature to fall by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius tomorrow,” he said.
A MeT official said that Srinagar witnessed two centimeter of snowfall today while mercury settled at 0.4 degree Celsius against minus 0.4 degree Celsius. It was for the first time in almost two months that Srinagar recorded temperature above sub-zero level.
The minimum temperatures have consistently remained far below normal this season. On January 31, the mercury plunged to minus 8.8°C, the coldest January night recorded in three decades.
The minimum temperature also improved in other parts of the Valley.
The Mercury settled at minus 3.3 degree Celsius in Pahalgam against minus 3.9 degree Celsius the previous night while 2 cm snowfall was recorded at the tourist resort.
Qazigund recorded a low of minus 0.8 degree Celsius against minus 2.8 degree Celsius the previous night and it received snowfall of 13.2cms.
Kokernag recorded a minimum of minus 5.1 degree Celsius against minus 2.4 degree Celsius the previous night while it had 6 cms of snow.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 6.4 degree Celsius against minus 5.2 degree Celsius the previous night.
The Mercury settled at minus 2.3 degree Celsius in Kupwara against minus 1.2 degree Celsius the previous night while northern Kashmir district received 1.5 cms of snowfall today.
With fresh snowfall, the Air traffic at Srinagar Airport remained temporarily suspended this morning for the second consecutive day as many morning flights were delayed and rescheduled in view of the fresh snowfall and low visibility.
Earlier Airport Authorities in the morning confirmed on the Twitter morning flights are likely to be delayed due to snowfall. Notably flight operations were also disrupted yesterday morning and many flights were cancelled due to snowfall and low visibility.
“Many flights were cancelled today due to weather conditions, only after getting the clearance from the ATC the flight operations were resumed at Srinagar Airport”, an official said.
“There were 31 Flight movements today out of which 28 flights operated today and 3 flights were cancelled at Srinagar Airport”, the official said.
The fresh snowfall caused slippery road conditions in the morning but as the day progressed the temperatures improved bringing respite to the people.
Meanwhile, police rescued two persons trapped in snow in Gool area while Jammu -Srinagar National Highway which was closed due to fresh snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area last night was restored during noon.
Official sources said that due to fresh snowfall and rain in Banihal and Ramban sector during last night, the National Highway was closed. A large number of vehicles remained stranded on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel.
The BRO authorities launched snow clearance operation at around 9 am and the road was cleared by 12 noon. Thereafter, the movement of vehicles towards Kashmir was allowed. Massive traffic jam was witnessed at many places between Chanderkote-Ramban and Banihal sector till this evening.
The official said that the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway will remain closed for repair works tomorrow as announced by NHAI. On every Friday this month, the movement of vehicles will be restricted on this highway.
Meanwhile, in the morning a call was received by SDPO Gool, Pardeep Kumar mentioning that due to snowfall last night, a Tata Mobile vehicle was stranded at Potato farm Gool, in which two persons along with their Ponies were stuck there without food and water.
The SDPO alongwith his men, immediately rushed to the spot. After covering some distance, because of slippery road conditions, official vehicle couldn’t proceed further and rest of the stretch had to be covered on foot, in deep snow.
On reaching the spot, the persons namely Shahnawaz Ahmed, son of Mohd Rafiq from Mahore in Reasi and Mohd Sharif, son of Mohd Latif from Mahore, were found shivering and feeling dizzy. They were served hot meals, water and fruits. Thereafter attempt was made to pull out the vehicle, which had skidded off the road in the roadside drain.
Thereafter, the SDPO contacted local Army Unit at Gool, who immediately dispatched recovery vehicle along with men to the site. With the joint efforts of Gool Police and Army, the Tata Mobile along with these two persons and ponies were rescued safely.