Highway Closed For More Than 3 Hours, 2-Way Traffic Today; Affects Flight Operations
Srinagar: Fresh snowfall in the Kashmir Valley on Friday caused the Srinagar-Jammu route to be closed for more than three hours, affecting airline operations to and from Srinagar, according to officials.
Pahalgam and Gulmarg, two popular tourist destinations, as well as Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama, Budgam, and the upper reaches of Kupwara, Ganderbal, and Srinagar, all experienced snowfall.
According to a representative of the local meteorological department, snowfall in the previous 24 hours included 0.5 cm in Srinagar, 11 cm in Qazigund, 8.7 cm in Pahalgam, 16 cm in Kokernag, 2.5 cm in Kupwara, 10 cm in Gulmarg, 2.5 cm in Banihal, and 2 cm in Batote. He said that during that time, there was rain in Kathua (3.8mm), Katra (1.0mm), Bhaderwah (7.8mm), and Jammu (1.2mm).
Traffic movement on both sides of the Srinagar-Jammu highway — the only road connecting Kashmir with the rest of the world — was halted for several hours due to snowfall and shooting stones between Ramban and Banihal, according to officials.
“The highway was closed for three hours and twenty minutes due to shooting stones at Panthyal. The breakdown of three HMVs between Nashri and the NAVYUG Tunnel slowed traffic on the NHW, according to a traffic department official.
“Subject to fair weather and road clearance, LMVs Passenger/Private Cars shall be allowed from both sides on Jammu-Srinagar NHW viz J & K and vice versa,” he said, adding that “TCU Jammu/Srinagar shall consult with TCU Ramban before releasing traffic.”
Furthermore, flight operations at the Srinagar airport were hampered by snowfall and low visibility.
Minimum temperatures in Kashmir rose but remained below freezing throughout the Valley. On Thursday night, the minimum temperature in Srinagar was minus 0.1 degrees Celsius, up from minus 1.4 degrees Celsius the night before. The Valley’s gateway, Qazigund, recorded a low of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius.
Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 1.4 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara recorded a low of minus 1.5 degrees Celsius. Pahalgam, in the Anantnag district, which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a temperature of minus 2.9 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg in the Baramulla district had a minimum temperature of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius.
Due to western disturbances, the meteorological office predicted wet weather in Jammu and Kashmir from January 19 to 25. On Friday and Saturday, it predicted light to moderate rain or snow in parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
It forecasted much heavier precipitation from January 23 to 25, with moderate snow in Kashmir’s plains, moderate to heavy snow in the middle and upper reaches, and rain in Jammu.
Kashmir is currently in the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan,’ a 40-day period of extreme weather in which the likelihood of snowfall is greatest and most frequent. Chillai Kalan runs from December 21 to January 30. The cold wave continues after that, with a 20-day ‘Chillai Khurd’ and a 10-day ‘Chillai Bachha’ to follow.