SRINAGAR: Kashmir was cut off from rest of the country on Monday as the arterial Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and Mughal road were closed due to snowfall across the valley, leaving thousands of vehicles stranded. The snowfall started during the night at most places and early in the morning at few places. As of now, snowfall of same intensity is likely to continue till afternoon and there will be a temporary break till evening.
All four districts of south Kashmir have received heavy snowfall where 2.5 to 4 feet of snow is accumulated in almost every district. All district inter-district roads are still disconnected, electricity is suspended since last evening and water supply is also disrupted. Two highways falling in those districts Srinagar-Jammu and Srinagar-Poonch (Mughal Road) remain close on day 2 also. However, snow clearance and restoration of essential services is being done on war footing.
Traffic remained suspended on Jammu-Srinagar, Mughal Road and on Srinagar-Leh road on day two while air traffic remained suspended due to heavy snow accumulation on roads and runway. “No flight operations have taken place at the airport so far this morning due to accumulation of snow on the runway,” an official at the Srinagar Airport told PTI. He said a decision to operate flights would be taken after the runway is cleared.
(A view of snow-covered roads, trees and shikaras after heavy snowfall in Kashmir on Monday.)
Snow recorded in south Kashmir — Pahalgam 14 inches, Larnoo 19-20 inches, Achabal 12-14 inches, Dooru 19 inches, Kokernag 15 inches, Srigufwara 12-14 inches, Mattan 12-13 inches, Ashmuqam 13 inches, Utrosoo 13-14 inches, Anantnag 7-8 inches, Jawahar Tunnel 36 inches.
Kulgam remained most-affected district with snow depth of 30 inches in Aharbal, 36 inches on DK Marg. Kund 30 inches, DH Pora 30 inches, Lammar 24 inches.
Srinagar received snowfall of 6 inches in the last 30 hours; whereas central and north Kashmir had less snow accumulation. Gulmarg received snowfall of 7 inches.
Snow clearance on national highways and airport is being done on war footing and men and machinery is also in action to clear link roads and inter district roads of Kashmir.
There was dip in day temperatures and a minor increase in the night temperature. Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.9 degree Celcius while mercury settled at minus 6.7 degree Celcius in Pahalgam, minus 5.0 degree Celcius in Gulmarg, Qazigund minus 0.3 degree Celcius, Kupwara minus 0.3 degree Celcius while Kokernag recorded a low of minus 1.4 degree Celcius, MeT office said.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
As per MeT department, chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.
While ‘Chillai-Kalan’, which began on December 21, will end on January 31, the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).