43 flights at Srinagar International Airport were canceled on Saturday
Banihal-Baramulla train service remained affected
Improvement in weather from today: MeT
The city markets witnessed a major decrease in footfalls of shoppers
Various business establishments also remained closed
Kashmir received intermittent moderate to heavy snowfall throughout the day on Saturday, which led to the cancellation of all 43 scheduled flights at the Srinagar International Airport and the suspension of traffic on the Srinagar- Jammu National Highway.
The train service between the 136-kilometer Banihal-Baramulla Section was also suspended due to the inclement weather conditions, the officials said.
Banihal and adjoining areas received a heavy snowfall since Friday evening. Snow depth at Banihal was reported to be 2 feet till evening.
The upper reaches of Ramban and Doda also received snowfall throughout the day. Bhaderwah received around 10 inches of snow while in other areas it varied between 6 inches and 3 feet, Meteorological Department officials said. Jawahar Tunnel saw an accumulation of more than 3 feet of snow.
Snow was also recorded in the upper reaches of Poonch, Poonch city, Kishtwar, and higher reaches of Rajouri. Plains of the Jammu region received heavy to very heavy rainfall during the last 36 hours. Rainfall recorded in Jammu crossed 100 millimeters in some areas.
Meanwhile, in Kashmir, the maximum impact of the inclement weather in the form of heavy snowfall was witnessed in Shopian and Kulgam districts. Kulgam received more than a foot of snow, Shopian received nearly 2 feet, upper areas in the belt received snow depth ranging between 1 foot and 3.5 feet.
The upper reaches of Budgam also received heavy snowfall of 1 to 2 feet. In Budgam plains, 3 to 5 inches of snow was recorded. Srinagar received 4 inches of snow, 8 inches in Pulwama, 4 inches in Anantnag, and 2 to 5 inches at Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla, and Ganderbal. The upper reaches of these districts received snow ranging between 6 inches and 2 feet.
Meanwhile, Meteorological Department Srinagar has forecast improvement in weather conditions from Sunday but warned of avalanches at vulnerable spots.
“Significant improvement from January 9 morning onwards in J&K. May cause an avalanche/landslide in vulnerable spots,” read the MeT statement issued at 1 pm on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Srinagar recorded a maximum temperature of 2.9 degrees Celsius on Saturday and 14.3 mm of rainfall between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm. Qazigund, Pahalgam, Kokernag recorded the day’s high temperatures at 1.8, 1.2, and 2.2 degrees Celsius with a total rain amount of 8.2mm, 13.6mm, and 15.6mm respectively between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm on Saturday. Kupwara and Gulmarg recorded maximum temperature at 1.5 and minus 1.2 degrees Celsius respectively.
Jammu city recorded 28.4 mm of rains, Banihal 37.8 mm, Batote 73.4mm, Bhaderwah 33.2 mm, and Katra 41.8 mm rainfall between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm on Saturday. Maximum temperatures at these locations were 11.5, 1.3, 1.3, 2.2, and 10.2 degrees Celsius respectively.
Meanwhile, the snowfall on Saturday threw normal life in Srinagar out of gear, with markets and roads witnessing lesser footfalls of shoppers and commuters. However, even the limited number of vehicles on roads led to traffic jams at various places due to slippery conditions in the morning.
At a few places, vehicles skidded off the roads and hit dividers. The private vehicles parked at interior localities found it difficult to move out amid the accumulation of snow at roadsides.
The city markets witnessed a major decrease in footfalls of shoppers, while various business establishments also remained closed.
Given the condition of slippery roads after the snowfall, the Traffic Department has advised people to avoid sudden brakes, fast turning, overtaking, follow traffic rules, minimise the use of two-wheelers and keep distance between plying vehicles.
Various interior areas complained of waterlogging and urged authorities to start dewatering operations without any further delay.
Deputy Mayor Srinagar, Parvaiz Qadri said “snow was cleared from all major lanes, bylanes, and important roads leading to hospitals and shrines on a priority basis.”
“Men and machinery were pressed for snow clearance and dewatering operation in municipal areas. Snow has been removed from 80 percent of the lanes and bylanes till 6 pm today. The operation to clear snow from the remaining areas will be completed today itself,” Qadri said.
He added that SMC has put foolproof arrangements in place.
“We have augmented new eight snow clearance machines. Sixty tractors with plainers for snow clearance are ready. I assure people of Srinagar city falling under the municipal domain that snow clearance operation will be prompt and effective even if the snowfall is heavy,” he said.
He added that dewatering operations at affected localities continued throughout the day. “The dewatering operations in left-out localities will be initiated and completed by Sunday afternoon,” Qadri said.
“We have directed officials to remain present and vigilant at their respective wards. I along with other officials visited several areas today to take the firsthand account of the ground situation arising post snowfall and snow clearance, dewatering operations,” Qadri added “We have divided the city into divisions and each division is working under the supervision of an officer. All those officers report to the control room established at SMC headquarters,” he said.
Qadri said that this control room monitors the progress of snow clearance and is also receiving grievances and complaints from the general public, adding that “all genuine grievances are redressed within two hours.”