While the plains in Kashmir received season’s first snowfall today disrupting traffic on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Jawahar Tunnel area for several hours, many areas of Jammu region witnessed heavy hail-storm causing damage to the crops of the farmers.
The plains of the Valley, including Srinagar recorded season’s first snowfall today. However, in Srinagar and other major towns, the snow didn’t accumulate for long on the ground. The Zabarwan Hills in Srinagar were covered in a blanket of snow.
The ski- resort of Gulmarg received fresh snowfall of around 2 feet. Tangmarg-Gulmarg road was closed in the morning. However, the road was re-opened for traffic. Kupwara, Shopian, Handwara and other places received snowfall leading to sharp fall in temperature. Almost entire Kashmir valley experienced rain throughout the day.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar was recorded at 0.3 degrees Celsius. It was 0.4 degrees Celsius in Pahalgam, minus 7.0 degrees Celsius in Gulmarg, minus 1.3 degrees Celsius in Leh, and minus 2.4 degrees Celsius in Kargil town.
The minimum temperature in Jammu city was recorded at 11.6 degrees Celsius, in Katra it was 9.0 degrees Celsius, in Batote 3.6 degrees Celsius, in Banihal the temperature was 1.5 degrees Celsius, and in Bhaderwah 3.6 degrees Celsius.
A MeT official said that the temperature will improve tomorrow and there will be respite to people form intense cold. The weather would also show little improvement.
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for traffic in the morning for several hours due to around one ft snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel and Shaitani Nallah area. The traffic also remained suspended due to landslides at Battery Cheshma, Kheri and shooting stones at Panthial for some time.
The traffic on Highway, however, was restored at around 12 noon. Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded in Ramban, Banihal, Chanderkote and Udhampur areas. After the snow was cleared in Jawahar Tunnel area, the movement of vehicular traffic was allowed on both sides. No fresh movement of vehicles was permitted either from Qazigund towards Jammu side or from Nagrota towards Srinagar in the afternoon, a Traffic Police official said.
The official further said that from Nagrota, Srinagar bound passenger vehicles will be allowed to move only between 6 AM to 1 PM while heavy vehicles will be permitted only between 6.30 AM to 11. 30 AM. “No Srinagar bound passenger vehicle will be permitted to cross Udhampur after 2.30 PM while no heavy vehicle will be permitted after 1.30 PM,” he said.
From Qazigund side, light motor vehicles will be permitted to move towards Jammu only between 8. 30 AM to 3 PM while heavy vehicles shall be permitted only between 9 AM to 2 PM. “The road condition of NH, particularly in the snow bound stretch is slippery and night movement of vehicles is not advisable”, the official added.
While the movement of vehicles on Batote-Doda -Kishtwar and Doda -Bhaderwah continued despite rain, the connectivity to Gool and Mahore from Reasi and Ramban side remained snapped for several hours due to land slides at Daaman near Dharmari and heavy snow at Godhan top. The traffic from Reasi side to Mahore was restored in the afternoon but the connectivity between Mahore and Gool remained snapped. Scores of vehicles remained stranded on the road for about five hours.
Reports from Poonch said that Mughal road continued to remain closed on the second consecutive day due to heavy snowfall today from Chahtapani to Pir-Ki-Gali and Heerpur. There is nearly 2 ft snow in this belt of Pir Panjal. Loran and Sabjian areas of Poonch also experienced fresh snowfall today. Though Army and police authorities managed to clear the trapped vehicles on Mughal Road but there is no possibility of re-opening of this road in next 2-3 days, a senior Engineer of Mughal Road Project said.
Parts of Budhal and Thannamandi have also witnessed light snowfall but the link roads remained clear today. Higher reaches of Dudu-Basantgarh, Latti, Landhar, Sanasar and Patnitop in Udhampur besides Macchedi and Bani areas of Kathua also experienced fresh snowfall of this season. The rain throughout the day hit the normal life in this entire belt.
Due to heavy hail-storm in parts of Jammu, Udhampur, Reasi and Samba districts today, the crops have suffered massive damage. The vegetable crops in parts of Jammu, Marh, R S Pura and Samba also experienced damages. A senior official in the Agriculture department said that reports of losses have been received from several areas but the exact position would be known after conducting assessment by the respective field staff. Due to heavy rain during the day today, the normal life remained paralysed in most parts of Jammu. The chopper service to Mata Vaishnodevi from Katra base camp also remained suspended due to bad weather on the second day today.