Moderate Snowfall Cuts Off Valley

3 February 2015
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: The Kashmir region Tuesday remained cut-off from rest of the world with air and road traffic suspended due to snowfall, official reports said. The plains and higher reaches of the Valley, including capital city, witnessed light to moderate snowfall and intermittent rain for the second straight day. An official of Meteorological Department said that Srinagar received 1.7 inches of snow. He said Pahalgam resort received 20 centimetres, Qazigund 5, Kokernag 30 and Banihal 34 centimetres of snow. In north, Gulmarg received 2.5 feet snow till 5 pm bringing cheers to the skiers. The resort also witnessed increase in tourist arrival with fresh snowfall. 'There is around 2.5 feet snow and is falling intermittently. The strategic Srinagar-Jammu National Highway Tuesday remained closed for the vehicular traffic. According to the Inspector General of Police (Traffic) Muneer Khan National Highway was closed today for the vehicular movement because of heavy snowfall and rain at several places. 'Due to heavy snowfall ranging from 3 to 3.5 feet at several places including Jawahar Tunnel, Banihal, Batote and Patnitop, the highway was shut. We also witnessed heavy rainfall at Ramsoo and Ramban which are landslide prone areas,' he said. He said no passenger vehicle was stranded on the Highway since all the vehicular movement was stopped a day early. Khan said the ongoing snowfall hampers the clearance process on the Highway. The IGP traffic further said that if weather and road conditions improve, they would allow vehicle from Srinagar to ply on the highway. 'Because they should cross the tunnel before noon and in the afternoon as there is threat of avalanches from Lower Monda to Jawahar Tunnel,' he said. The Traffic Department has appealed people to stick to schedule and travel only after getting proper information from traffic department. The snowfall also disrupted air traffic in Kashmir and no flight arrived at or departed from the Srinagar Airport, an official said. He said the train services were also shut on Tuesday. Reports of snowfall were also received from Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipore districts of north Kashmir. 'The extended dry spell in December and January has now been broken by the present rain and snowfall.' The Met Office here said the minimum temperature was 0.6 degree Celsius in Srinagar, and 0.8 degree below zero in Pahalgam, 5.2 degrees Celsius below the freezing point in Gulmarg, minus 4.9 degrees in Leh and minus 13.5 in Kargil. The minimum temperature in Jammu city was 10.4 degrees Celsius. It was minus 0.5 in Banihal town, minus 0.9 in Bhaderwah town and minus 0.7 in Batote town of Jammu region Tuesday. The MeT official said there would be improvement in weather from Tuesday night. 'It would be mostly cloudy. The higher reaches may receive snowfall,' he said.