Fresh snowfall forces shutdown of National Highway


JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Feb 12: Fresh snowfall was recorded today in many areas of Jammu and Kashmir, leading to the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway for vehicular traffic.
The snowfall, however, snapped Kashmir's links with the rest of the country as the arterial Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was closed due to the accumulation of snow around Jawahar Tunnel in the Qazigund area.
"Due to slippery road conditions and fresh snowfall at the Jawahar tunnel and other areas, the highway has been closed," a senior traffic department official said.
The traffic authorities have stopped vehicular movement at the Nagrota check post in Jammu and Qazigun.
The snowfall has also led to poor visibility at the Srinagar airport, disrupting air traffic.
"Current visibility is 600 metres and the runway is not available up to 10.30 am due to snowfall. The situation will be reviewed after that," an official of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) in Jammu said.
This is the first major snowfall in Kashmir this winter, which was largely dry so far, barring some snowfall in early December last year.
According to the Meteorological (MeT) Department officials, the month of January received the lowest rainfall in the past 38 years.
Snowfall has led to traffic snarls on all major roads as continuous snowfall has hampered the efforts of the authorities to clear snow from roads, officials said.
Meanwhile, the minimum temperature across the Valley stayed around the freezing point, except for Gulmarg, the skiing resort in north Kashmir where the mercury settled at minus 4.6 degrees Celsius.
Kargil in the Ladakh region continued to be the coldest place in the state at minus 14 degrees Celsius, while nearby Leh was also freezing at minus 11.3 degrees Celsius last night, the MeT officials said.
However, Air traffic to and fro Kashmir was suspended today as bad weather forced cancellation of all flights at the Srinagar airport here.
All flights for today were cancelled, Director, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Srinagar, Sharad Kumar said.
"Visibility was low and continuous bad weather made flight operations impossible," he added.
Kashmir valley received the season's first major snowfall this morning. The snowfall also led to the closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
Meanwhile, High danger avalanche warning has been issued by SASE for Baramulla, Gulmarg, Kupwara, Chowkibal, Tangdhar, Phurkian, Z Gali, Bandipora, Kanzalwan, Gurez sector.
While Medium danger warning has been issued for Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar, Ganderbal, Kargil
Low danger warning for Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and higher reaches of Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Leh, Reasi and Udhampur Districts.
People living in these areas have been advised to avoid these routes and avalanche prone areas.

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