Snowfall, landslides block NH

A motorcyclist tries to move his bike amid heavy snow in Pakherpora area of Budgam district on Monday. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
A motorcyclist tries to move his bike amid heavy snow in Pakherpora area of Budgam district on Monday. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Flights cancelled, school building collapses

Gopal Sharma/Fayaz Bukhari

JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Jan 21: Cold wave gripped entire northern region as rain and heavy snowfall continued at many places across the State on the second consecutive day today while Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remains blocked due to heavy snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel and landslides at several places in Ramban area.
Due to bad weather, several flights were cancelled at Jammu and Srinagar Airports today while a Govt school building in Kashtigarh of Doda, collapsed during rains this morning. Several link roads in Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Reasi, Poonch and Rajouri have also been closed due to snowfall and landslides. Click here to watch video
IG Traffic, J&K, Alok Kumar told the Excelsior that Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was blocked last evening after snowfall at Pir Panjal/ Jawahar Tunnel area. He said as the weather showed little improvement for some time during the day today, the BEACON authorities cleared the highway in Tunnel area. Nearly 300 light passenger vehicles were allowed towards Kashmir but it again started raining and snowing and the highway was again closed for traffic within a few hours.
Kumar said the shooting stones and land slides at Gangroo, Panthyal, Battery Chashma, Hingni also created blockades at four places between Ramban and Banihal. It was raining continuously in the area and there was no scope of opening of the highway tonight. He said the road clearance work will be started tomorrow after the weather improves. He said over 1200 trucks/ load carriers were stranded near Jakheni in Udhampur, Dhar Road and many others at Nagrota Bypass. The IG said that Jammu-Batote-Doda-Kishtwar , Bhaderwah besides Poonch- Rajouri roads were clear.
Official sources said that there was around 8-10 inch snowfall near Jawahar Tunnel area this afternoon and several link roads at the higher reaches in Banihal were blocked. Around 150 light and medium Srinagar bound vehicles were also stranded in Banihal area. Over 2000 trucks are also stranded on north side of the Jawahar Tunnel.
A report from Doda said that building of Govt High School, Kudhar in Kashtigarh area of district Doda suddenly collapsed today due to land slides during heavy rain today. SP Operations Doda, RP Singh said that school building suffered extensive damage but no one was injured or killed as the school was closed due to winter vacations. Four rooms of the school have been damaged. Later, some Education officials and Naib Tehsildar concerned also visited the area.
Another report from Reasi said that due to land slides, Mahore-Chassana-Budhal, road has been blocked while fresh snowfall at Budhan Top, Mahore-Gool Road was also closed. Chopper service to Mata Vaishnodevi from Katra base camp remained suspended due to bad weather today. Yatra however, kept moving smoothly on both the tracks despite rain and intense cold.
Rajouri- Thannamandi-Dera Gali-Bafliaz-Surankote Road besides Mandi -Loran and Mandi -Saujian roads have also been blocked due to snowfall. Mughal Road, Kishtwar- Sinthon Top-Anantnag and Bhaderwah-Bani Roads are also lying closed due to heavy snowfall for the last couple of weeks.
Parts of Kashmir received heavy snowfall while rest was lashed by rain disrupting air and surface traffic with Meteorological Department Forecasting heavy snow and rain fall in the region for next 36 hours.
The plains of Kashmir were lashed by rains since last night while hills and plains of Baramulla district had heavy snowfall. Gulmarg witnessed 2 feet of snowfall since last night with Affarwat witnessing nearly 4 feet of fresh snowfall. Heavy snowfall was also witnessed in the hills of Shopian and Budgam district since last night. The Jawahar Tunnel area witnessed heavy snowfall since last night.
Air traffic remained disrupted with 4 flights cancelled and 11 were delayed due to bad weather at Srinagar Airport. “Due to the inclement weather, four of the 27 flights to and fro the Srinagar airport were cancelled today” , an official of the Airport Authority of India said.
SP Airport, Jammu Mohd Aslam said that due to bad weather today, some morning flights were delayed while five flights, including two Spicejet, two Indigo and one Go Air were cancelled. A Northern Railway spokesman said that a few trains arrived today at Jammu station by 30 minutes or maximum an hour late. He said the foggy weather condition has shown some improvement.
Meanwhile, a Met spokesman has predicted rain and snowfall at many places tomorrow across Jammu region. He said the weather will show some improvement by tomorrow afternoon and it will be a sunny day on Wednesday. The Jammu experienced a rain fall of 20.8 mm since last evening and Udhampur 23.6 mm.
The winter capital city (Jammu) recorded a minimum temperature of 11.9 degree Celsius and maximum 20.0 deg C today; holy township of Katra maximum 17.8 deg C and minimum 10 deg C; Bhaderwah minimum 1.8 deg C, Banihal minimum 1.1 degree C while Kathua recorded maximum 18.2 deg C and minimum 9.2 deg C temperature.
Meanwhile, authorities in Kashmir today issued fresh avalanche warning for the hills of the State. High danger avalanche warning was issued by the hills of Anantnag, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Kargil districts, medium level avalanche warning was issued for the districts of Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Kulgam, Budgam and Leh districts and low Level warning was issued for Doda, Kishtwar and Udhampur district for the next 24 hours. People living in these areas have been asked to be cautious while venturing out in these areas.
The MeT authorities forecast fresh heavy snow and rain across Jammu and Kashmir for next two days. “Widespread moderate to rather heavy rain and snowfall is likely to occur during the next 24 hours (till Tuesday),” a Met Department official said.
“A western disturbance is active over the State and its intensity will decrease from Wednesday onwards”, he added.
Srinagar recorded a maximum of 4.5 degree Celsius while low settled at minus 0.3 degree Celsius. The famous hill resort of Pahalgam recorded a maximum of 2.8 degree Celsius while Qazigund, recorded day temperature of 9.6 degrees Celsius and Kokernag, also in south Kashmir, recorded a maximum of 7.6 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperatures at these places settled at 0.2 degree Celsius, 06 degree Celsius and minus 0.3 degree Celsius, respectively.
Gulmarg saw a maximum of minus 2.5 degrees Celsius and minimum of minus 4.0 degrees Celsius.