Heavy snowfall predicted in Kashmir, rains to lash plains
Jmu-Sgr highway closed, flights disrupted
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir could receive very heavy spell of rain and snow starting Monday night and the snowfall can last upto Tuesday evening, Indian Meteorological Department said in its weather bulletin.
The IMD predicted heavy to very heavy rain and snow at isolated places over Jammu and Kashmir on January 22 (Tuesday).
Meanwhile, fresh snowfall was witnessed in the higher reaches of Kashmir while as rains lashed the plains even as there was some respite from cold wave for valley residents.
Moderate rains lashed the plains of Kashmir from early hours of Monday while there were reports of snowfall in higher reaches of the valley, officials said here.
The MeT Office has forecast widespread rain and snow over the state with heavy falls at isolated places till Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Skymet Weather in its weather report warned that such heavy and prolonged spells could increase the risk of avalanches.
“The warning has been issued for the avalanche-prone areas of district Shopian Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh,” it said.
It said once again, rain and snow have begun over the North Indian hills, with the strongest western disturbance of the season.
“The system is over North Pakistan and adjoining Jammu and Kashmir with its induced Cyclonic Circulation over Central Pakistan and North Rajasthan,” the weather report said, adding such system results in fairly widespread to widespread rains and snowfall over the hilly states for a prolonged period.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar Sunday night settled at minus 0.3 degree Celsius, same as previous night, a MET official said.
He said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, in south Kashmir recorded a low of 0.6 degree Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius Sunday night.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius.
Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius Sunday night, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, while the mercury in Kargil registered a low of minus 14.0 degrees Celsius.
Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, colder than even Drass town which recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
‘Chillai Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold).
Heavy snowfall shuts Highway, flights disrupted
The traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway — the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country — was suspended as high altitude areas experienced heavy snowfall while plains were lashed by incessant rains.
Jawahar Tunnel the gateway to Kashmir – along the 270-km highway received nearly two feet of snow since Sunday evening, forcing authorities to close the arterial road for traffic, an official of the traffic department said.
However, local traffic on Banihal-Ramban stretch of the highway was allowed despite incessant rains which also triggered shooting of stones near Battery Cheshma this morning.
The road was immediately cleared to allow local traffic, the official said.
He said the snow clearance operation on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel was going on despite intermittent snowfall.
The early opening of the highway for traffic looks bleak as weatherman has predicted moderate to heavy snowfall and rains across Jammu and Kashmir till Wednesday, the official said.
The high altitude areas are experiencing intermittent snowfall sixth spell during this month, while plains including Jammu were lashed by rains since last evening.
Due to the prevailing weather conditions, the minimum temperature across Jammu region rose by several degrees.
The minimum temperature recorded in Jammu was 11.9 degrees Celsius, 4.9 degrees above normal during this part of the season, a spokesman of the MET office said.
Despite cloudy weather, the day temperature in the City of Temples also settled 2.1 degrees above normal at 20 degrees Celsius on Sunday, he said.
Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district, recorded a low of 10 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.
He said the highway township of Banihal, which recorded 57.0 mm of rains till 0830 hours, was the coldest recorded place in Jammu region with a minimum of 1.1 degrees Celsius.
The nearby Batote recorded a night temperature of 2.1 degrees Celsius, while Bhaderwah in Doda district and Kathua along the Jammu-Pathankot Highway recorded a minimum of 1.9 and 9.2 degrees Celsius, respectively, the spokesman said.
Bad weather conditions disrupted operations at the Srinagar International Airport here, leading to the cancellation of four flights, officials said.
Due to the inclement weather, four of the 27 flights to and fro the Srinagar airport were cancelled on Monday, an official of the Airport Authority of India said.
Another 11 flights got delayed due to poor visibility and intermittent rainfall since Monday morning. (with PTI inputs)