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Downpour: MeT issues ‘Orange’ alert for JK

Downpour: MeT issues ‘Orange’ alert for JK
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Snowfall recorded in higher reaches, flights cancelled  

Srinagar: The weatherman Tuesday issued an ‘orange alert’ as the present weather system and snowfall is expected to ‘intensify’. The weather office has already issued an advisory for snowfall in JK till January 9.  “As expected, weather is overcast in both J&K with widespread light rain/snow and moderate snow over higher reaches,” an official of the MeT office said here.  “Present weather system is likely to intensify as the day progresses. Expect Moderate Snow/Rain in plains and Heavy Snowfall over higher reaches with main activity later tonight and tomorrow in both Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.      The weatherman has issued ‘amber/orange warning, asking administration and people to be alert.  There are four types of colour codes signifying the level of caution: green which means no action, yellow—situation to be watched), amber –government agencies need to be prepared for severe weather and red –action needed by the agencies.The weather office has urged people not to venture out on avalanche and landslide prone areas, unless extremely necessary. “Keep power/light backup  (in case of power failure),” the MeT office said, advising drivers to be very slowly and in low gear while driving on snow bound area.Two successive western disturbances are affecting Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and adjoining areas till 9th January (forenoon).Under the influence of these weather systems, the weatherman said that widespread moderate rain and snow was expected in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions. “Light rain/snow would commence at a few places of Kashmir from 3rd January evening and thereafter increase in intensity and distribution,” reads the advisory, adding, “Main activity of this system will be occurrence of moderate to heavy rain/snow, most likely during 5th and 8th January and gradual decrease thereafter.”

The system is likely to cause heavy rain and snow mainly in Pirpanjal Range of Jammu Division (from Bhaderwah to Banihal), upper reaches of Kashmir (Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Baramulla and Kupwara , and Drass subdivision in Ladakh.

Regarding probable impacts, the weather advisory says that there may be disruption of surface and air transport including Jammu- Srinagar Highway, Srinagar-Leh Highway (Zojila Pass), Leh-Manali, Mughal Road, and Sadhna pass.

“There are chances of snow avalanches and landslides in vulnerable areas besides disruption of power supply in hilly areas.”There may be water logging in low lying areas besides further dip in day temperatures, it said.Meanwhile, Kashmir Valley received intermittent snowfall, leading to closure of several roads but Jammu-Srinagar highway, the only surface link connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of the world, remained through for traffic on Tuesday. A meteorological department official here said that Srinagar, recorded rain and snowfall of 7.1mm since overnight till 0830 hours today.The summer capital of J&K, he said, recorded a low of 0.6°C against previous night’s 3.0°C. It was 2.7°C above normal for this time of the year, he said.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 ‘Chilla Bachha’.

Gulmarg recorded had 8.4 inches (21cm) of fresh snowfall during the time and the mercury settled at minus 5.0°C against minus 5.8°C on the previous night at the world famous resort, he said.

Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir, had 4.0mm of rain and snow during the time while as it recorded a low of 0.6°C against 1.4°C on the previous night, he said.

Pahalgam, the famous resort in south Kashmir, had 13.5 cms of snowfall and recorded a low of minus 1.2°C against minus 3.0°C on previous night, he said.

Kokernag, also in south Kashmir, had 1mm of rain or snow even as it recorded a low of minus 0.4°C against 0.6°C on previous night, the official said.

Kupwara town in north Kashmir, had 5cms of snowfall and recorded a minimum of 0.2°C against 2.0°C on the previous night, the official said.Reports reaching said that Bandipora-Gurez road was closed due to fresh and continuing snowfall. 5 inches of snow had already accumulated at Gurez, 9 inches at Razdan top, 5 inches at Tulail and 4 inches at Dawar, they said.Reports said that there were 6 inches of snowfall recorded at Sonamarg to Bajri Nallaj in Ganderbal.Also Machil, Karna and Keran roads have been closed as higher reaches of Kupwara received 1.5 ft snow amid continuing snowfall.  Jammu recorded a low of 11.8°C, up by 4.5°C from the precious night and normal of 7.3°C for the J&K’s winter capital during this time of the year, he said.

Ladakh’s Leh recorded a low of minus 7.2°C against last night’s minus 9.1°C while Kargil automatic station recorded a minimum of minus 9.0°C and Drass recorded a low of 7.5°C, the official added.Reports said strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway was open for traffic hitherto amid continuous snowfall. Officials urged people to confirm status before staring journey on Wednesday.The downpour during the most parts of the day meant that most of the flight were cancelled for the day.42 flights which were scheduled to operate to and fro Srinagar ‘international’ airport here were cancelled due to poor visibility amid rains and snowfall, officials said.“Continuous snowfall and poor visibility resulted in 42 cancellations today across all airlines. The visibility has now improved and the flights are operating,” AAI said in a tweet.“The passengers of the cancelled flights shall be rescheduled in the next available flight of the concerned airlines. There will be no extra charges for rescheduling. The passengers may also opt for full refund at their convenience,” it said.Among those cancelled include all Indigo flights (13), Spicejet (6) and Vistara(3), officials told said.Meanwhile, heath authorities asked all the Chief Medical Officers, Medical Superintendents and Block Medical Officers not to leave their station without seeking prior permission “so as to make sure that health care facilities don’t get hampered due to snowfall.”“In order to meet out any emergency situation that may arise due to heavy snow fall in Kashmir Division, all the Chief Medical Officers / Medical Superintendents / Block Medical Officers are hereby directed not to leave their station without seeking prior permission from this office, so as to make sure that health care facilities don’t get hampered due to snowfall,” reads an order by Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, Director Health Services Kashmir.In addition, all the hospital administrators have been asked to put in place adequate heating arrangements in their respective hospitals and make sure that snow on the roads leading to the hospitals is cleared and ambulances are fitted with snow chains. (with input from GNS)

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