Highway opens for stranded vehicles; Air traffic resumes at Srinagar Airport
The Meteorological Department today predicted “mainly dry” weather in Jammu and Kashmir till January 31. Kashmir received a moderate to heavy snowfall on Saturday, cutting off the Valley from the outside world, as both surface and air traffic were disrupted. However, the 270-kilometre Srinagar-Jammu National highway was reopened for stranded traffic today, while the air traffic resumed at the Srinagar International highway after having remained suspended on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the latest weather bulletin, Director MeT, Sonam Lotus said that the will remain ‘mainly dry’ across J&K till January 31.
Improvement in night temperatures:
The recent wet spell has brought an end to dry and cold wave conditions that prevailed in Kashmir for more than 10 days.
Summer capital Srinagar on Saturday night recorded minus 1.9 degrees Celsius. However, ski-resort Gulmarg continued to freeze and recorded minus 11 degrees while Pahalgam in south Kashmir recorded minus 12 degrees, making it the coldest recorded station in the Valley, MeT data said.
It may be mentioned that Kashmir is witnessing the last week of the 40-day harshest winter period of Chilai Kalan, which started on December 21 and will conclude on January 31. This season has witnessed a severe Chilai Kalan, as temperatures in the Valley witnessed a record low of 29 years. The mercury had plummeted to as low as minus 8.4 degrees in Srinagar earlier this month, causing freezing of water bodies and supply lines.
Meanwhile, as the Valley was greeted by a sunshine on Sunday, Srinagar witnessed an improvement in the day temperature and recorded 7.7 degrees Celsius maximum temperature, several notches above the temperature recorded a day earlier when the Valley received a moderate to heavy snowfall. Gulmarg which had received more than 1.5 feet deep snowfall on Saturday, recorded a maximum temperature of minus 1.8 degrees on Sunday.
Highway reopens for stranded vehicles:
The 270-kilometre Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was reopened for stranded traffic on Sunday.The highway had been closed for traffic on Saturday due to heavy snowfall near the Jawahar Tunnel and mudslides, shooting stones at multiple places. Meanwhile, as per an advisory issued by the Traffic Department, only stranded vehicles plying towards Srinagar will be allowed to move on Monday subject to conditions of the road.
“Subject to fair weather and better road condition only stranded vehicles shall be allowed towards Srinagar including Ramban-Banihal (local traffic)” traffic department advisory said. “No traffic shall be allowed in the opposite direction”, the advisory added. Traffic officials said more than 4000 vehicles stranded on the highway for the last two days will be allowed to move towards their destinations and the road cleared of the huge backlog of traffic as soon as possible.
The Mughal road which connects the Valley with Pir Panchal region and the Srinagar-Leh Highway also remain closed due to the accumulation of snow. The Srinagar-Leh highway was officially closed after the orders from Divisional Commissioner Kashmir PK Pole on December 30.
Air Traffic resumes:
The air traffic at Srinagar International Airport which was suspended due to heavy snowfall on Saturday was resumed on Sunday. Although the morning flights got delayed as the snow clearance process on the runway was underway, Airport officials said the flight resumption took place in the afternoon and several flights operated during the day.
All scheduled flights had been canceled on Saturday due to the accumulation of snowfall on the runway and poor visibility.
Meanwhile, the minimum temperature at most places in Kashmir plummeted on Sunday after the snowfall, but the clouds made way for the winter sun in the morning, officials said. The MET office has said the weather will improve gradually and remain mainly dry till the end of the month. The night temperature in the Kashmir valley, except in Srinagar and Qazigund, dropped on Saturday night, the officials said. They said there were reports of very light snowfall or rain at most places of the Valley during the night.
Srinagar city recorded a low of minus 1.9 degrees Celsius, slightly up from minus 2 degrees Celsius the previous night. Qazigund, the gateway town to the Valley, recorded a minimum of 3 degrees Celsius, a degree up from the previous night. The minimum temperature at the Gulmarg skiing resort settled at minus 11 degrees Celsius on Saturday night, down from minus 4.8 degrees Celsius the night earlier. Pahalgam tourist resort, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 12 degrees Celsius – over 10 degrees down from the previous night’s minus 1.3 degrees Celsius.