Vaishnodevi shrine, Patnitop, Gulmarg, other places receive fresh snowfall

Pilgrims moving through fresh snowfall at Mata Vaishnodevi Bhawan on Saturday evening. -Excelsior/Karandeep
Pilgrims moving through fresh snowfall at Mata Vaishnodevi Bhawan on Saturday evening. -Excelsior/Karandeep

Traffic disrupted on NH, no movement today
Jammu’s temp goes 7 degrees below normal

Gopal Sharma/ Fayaz Bukhari
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Jan 22: Famous tourist resort, Gulmarg in Kashmir, the holy cave of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi and Jammu’s major tourist destination- Patnitop and many other places across J&K received fresh snowfall and rain since last night even as the minimum temperature in most parts of the Valley settled above the freezing point.
Entire Jammu region has been gripped in the severe cold conditions while the winter capital Jammu has witnessed a sharp fall in temperature, about 7 degrees Celsius below normal today.
While world famous Shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi witnessed about 6-7 inch of fresh snowfall this evening, tourist resort of Patnitop experienced about 8-10 inch of snowfall till this evening. It was still snowing in many areas including Pancheri, Kud, Latti, Dudu, Basantgarh, Mahore-Gool, Batote, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Paddar, Chhatroo, Gandoh-Bhalessa, Doda, Banihal, Budhal, Bani-Sarthal, Machhedi, Loran, Dera Gali, Sawjian and others in Jammu region this evening.
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The helicopter and battery car service to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine was suspended today due to bad weather but on-foot restricted pilgrimage was allowed to the shrine. But there was very thin movement of pilgrims due to weekend COVID restriction, a Police officer at Bhawan said. He said snowfall continued at the shrine since evening and about 5-6 inch snowfall was witnessed till 6.00 pm.
Reports from Udhampur said that Chenani-Kud-Patnitop-Batote road has been closed after snowfall and slippery road conditions while movement on Doda-Kishtwar road was also restricted after 6.30 pm due to heavy snowfall in Batote area. It was raining in the entire region and many roads have been closed.
Due to fresh snowfall and rain , the power supply to entire Pancheri, Mongri, Bhamag and Landhar areas has been snapped. Same is the position in Latti-Dudu-Basantgarh area. The BSNL service in this belt (Latti-Dudu) has also been snapped since last night. The road to Pancheri and Mongri was also closed due to fresh snowfall.
The movement of traffic on Thannamandi-Dera Gali-Bafliaz road has also been stopped due to fresh snowfall at Dera Pass while authorities restricted movement of traffic on Jammu-Poonch highway at Bhimber Gali due to light snowfall this evening. It was snowing when the last reports came in around 7.30 pm.
Reasi-Mahore, Mahore-Gool and Mahore Gulabgarh roads have also been closed besides dozens of roads in Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar, Udhampur and Ramban areas due to snowfall and land slides.
The winter capital Jammu today recorded the day temperature of 12 degree Celsius which is about 7 degrees below normal. Batote recorded a minimum temperature of 1.2 degree C, Bhaderwah 1.8 degree C while Katra town 7.2 degree C night temperature.
SSP Traffic National Highway, Shabir Malik said that disruption on traffic movement amidst rain continued in Ramban sector due to land sliding/ shooting stones at Mehar, Seri, Cafeteria and Panthyal areas but due to standby machinery at the sites the road was cleared. It was raining late this evening in Ramban and Banihal sectors and light snowfall was also there in Banihal but highway was through. It may block any time due to increasing snowfall and rain.
Malik said in view of the rain forecast, the authorities have decided to suspend traffic on Jammu-Srinagar highway on Sunday. But if the weather remained favourable, the restricted movement will be allowed after 11 am tomorrow. People must start journey from the either side after confirming from Traffic Control Rooms at Jammu, Srinagar and Ramban, he added.
Meanwhile, rains lashed the Valley while hills of Kashmir including Gulmarg received fresh snowfall today.
A Meteorological Department official said that Srinagar received 1.6 mm rainfall today while the temperature was recorded a low of 2.3 degree Celsius against last night’s 2.8 degree Celsius.
Gulmarg had about 12cms of fresh snowfall and recorded a low of minus 6.5 degree Celsius against minus 7.5 degree Celsius the previous night. The temperature was 1.7 degree Celsius above normal for this time of the year.
Pahalgam had 3.5cms of snowfall and recorded a low of minus 2.4 degree Celsius same as on the last night.
Qazigund had 3.6 cms of rainfall and recorded a low of 0.2 degree Celsius against 1.6 degree Celsius the previous night.
Kokernag had 2.5cm of snowfall during the time and recorded a low of minus 1.9 degree Celsius against 0.4 degree Celsius the previous night.
Kupwara town in North Kashmir received 0.0mm of rainfall during the time while as it recorded a low of 1.4 degree Celsius against 1.2 degree Celsius the previous night.
Leh recorded a low of minus 11.4 degree Celsius against last night’s minus 12.0 degree Celsius while mercury at Kargil settled at minus 15.0 degree Celsius.
Drass recorded a low of minus 11.9 degree Celsius against last night’s minus 21.4 degree Celsius.
Weatherman has said that fresh western disturbance affected J&K and most likely concentrate over Jammu Division, Pir Panjal Range and South Kashmir.
“Under the influence of this system, widespread rain/snow is most likely to occur during 22nd and 23rd January,” the official said.
He said the system will most likely concentrate over Jammu Division, Pir Panjal Range and South Kashmir.
“Moderate rain in plains with snow over higher reaches (heavy rain/snow at isolated places) of Jammu Division is expected during the above period,” he said.
Light snow over plains and moderate snow over middle and higher reaches of Kashmir Division is also expected particularly over Northwestern, Northern and central parts of Kashmir.
“Moderate snow over plains of South Kashmir with heavy snow at isolated places over higher reaches of South Kashmir is expected during the above period.”
He said there could be landslides in vulnerable spots of Jammu-Srinagar Highway and other major hilly roads.
Kashmir is presently under the grip of 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 ‘Chillai Bachha’.