Srinagar-Leh, Mughal roads closed; snowfall, rain in J&K

People warming themselves on roadside as mercury plummets across Kashmir. — Excelsior/Shakeel
People warming themselves on roadside as mercury plummets across Kashmir. — Excelsior/Shakeel

Gopal Sharma/Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR/ JAMMU, Dec 23: Upper reaches of Kashmir and many parts of Jammu region today received fresh snowfall while there was intermittent rain across J&K and amid overnight cloud cover, minimum temperatures rose considerably across the region with most places in the Valley recording above-sub-zero temperatures.
The Srinagar- Leh National Highway besides Mughal and Gurez roads were closed after fresh snowfall occurred in upper reaches of the Kashmir and parts of Jammu, while several parts in the plains of Valley received light to moderate rainfall.
The snowfall at Razdan Pass in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district led to closure of Bandipora-Gurez road for vehicular movement, while Mughal Road connecting Rajouri- Poonch districts with Shopian in Kashmir has also been closed due to fresh snowfall at Pir ki Gali. The snowfall has also led to the closure of Srinagar-Leh highway.
Snow accumulated at Tangmarg, Gulmarg and Baba Rishi since early today. An official of the Mechanical Division said that snow clearance has been started. “Only vehicles having 4×4 facility or vehicles fixed with snow chains on tyres, shall be allowed to move between Tangmarg and Gulmarg, to prevent skidding of the vehicles,” the official added.
Gulmarg recorded 6 inches of snowfall, Tangmarg 2 inches, Sadnatop 4 inches, Machil 2 inches, Z Gali 3 inches, Keran 3 inches and Gurez 4 inches.
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A MeT department official said that as expected, light snow and rain occured at scattered places in Kashmir and Sonmarg-Zojila axis.
He said that present weather condition is likely to continue till next 24 hours.  The official said that another snow spell of greater intensity is most likely to occur during December 26 and 27.
“There will be most likely widespread of light to moderate snow in plains of Kashmir, rain in Jammu and moderate snow at scattered places of Ladakh especially Kargil- Zanskar region,” he said.
He added that light snow is also possible at some places in Leh, mainly over higher reaches with 75 percent chances of occurrence.
Meanwhile, a MeT official said that Srinagar recorded a low of minus 2.6 degree Celsius against last night’s minus 1.8 degree Celsius.
Jammu’s temperature has shown improvement during last two days. Jammu city today recorded a maximum temperature of 21.3 degree Celsius and minimum 9.3 deg C. The night and days temperatures at Kathua, Katra and Bhaderwah have also shown significant improvement.
There has been fresh snowfall at the higher reaches in Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar. Light snowfall also took place near Jawahar Tunnel area this evening. The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has remained operational. The chopper service at Katra Mata Vaishnodevi from base camp also operated normally.
Kashmir is presently under the 40-day long harshest period of winter, known locally as ‘Chillai Kalan, which started from December 21. It is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ and a 10-day-long ‘Chilla Bachha’.
The mercury at Gulmarg settled at minus 3.7 degree Celsius against minus 4.0 degree Celsius the previous night. It was 2.1 degree Celsius above normal for the famous resort.
Qazigund had a low of 0.8 degree Celsius against minus 3.0 degree Celsius the previous night.
Pahalgam recorded a low of 0.3 degree Celsius against minus 5.2 degree Celsius previous night.
Kokernag recorded a low of 0.7 degree Celsius against minus 1.9 degree Celsius the previous night.
Kupwara recorded a minimum of 2.6 degree Celsius against minus 2.9 degree Celsius the previous night.
Leh had a low of minus 6.6 degree Celsius against last night’s minus 12.4 degree Celsius while Kargil recorded minimum of minus 6.1 degree Celsius. Drass recorded a low of minus 9.6 degree Celsius.