Intermittent snowfall in Kashmir, flight operations hit at Srinagar airport

Snowfall hits traffic on Jammu-Srinagar NH


SRINAGAR, Jan 12: Intermittent snowfall continued in Kashmir for the second consecutive day Saturday, leading to disruption in flight operations at the Srinagar airport, officials said.
However, the Srinagar-Jammu national highway the only all-weather road-link connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country was through for traffic.
Intermittent snowfall continued in most parts of Kashmir for the second day, an official of the Meteorological Department here said.
He said while the plains, including Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, experienced light snowfall, most of the higher reaches of the state received moderate snowfall.
The snowfall has led to decrease in visibility, resulting in disruption of flight operations at the Srinagar airport.
"The air traffic to and fro Srinagar airport has been hit because of the low visibility due to continuous snowfall," an official at the airport said.
He said so far three flights were cancelled while a few others were delayed.
However, the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was open for one-way traffic, an official at the Traffic Control Room here said.
The Met office has said there is a possibility of light rain and snow in many places, with heavy falls at isolated places, in the state on Saturday. It said the weather is likely to improve on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the minimum temperature at Srinagar settled at minus 0.8 degrees Celsius last night slightly up from the previous night's low of minus 1 degree Celsius, the official of the Met office said.
He said Qazigund the gateway town to the valley in south Kashmir also recorded a low of minus 0.8 degree Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius last night.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of 0.2 degree Celsius, the official said, adding Kupwara was the only place in Kashmir where the night temperature settled above the freezing point.
Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.0 degrees Celsius last night, while Pahalgam tourist resort registered a low of minus 4.5 degrees Celsius.
The official said Leh recorded a low of minus 11.9 degrees Celsius last night, while the mercury in Drass settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees Celsius and Kargil experienced the minimum of minus 16.8 degrees Celsius.
Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and 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).
Hundreds of vehicles were stranded Saturday as fresh snowfall hit traffic on the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, officials said.
"The traffic on the highway was suspended this afternoon after fresh snowfall across Jawahar Tunnel -- the gateway to Kashmir valley," Deputy Superintendent of Police, Traffic National Highway, Pardeep Singh Sen said.
Kashmir-bound traffic on the highway was stopped at Banihal and Ramban due to the slippery conditions between Shaitani Nallah and Verinag Zig, he said.
"Rains in plains and snowfall in upper reaches was going on since 11.00 am and the decision to suspend traffic was taken as a precautionary measure," the officer said.
Clearance of snow will start once weather improves and necessary arrangements have been made for the safety of the passengers, officials added.
Currently, the traffic on the highway has been restricted to one side and plies alternatively between the two capitals cities of Srinagar and Jammu.

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