Traffic disrupted on NH, no movement today
Jammu’s temperature drops 7 degrees below normal
Gopal Sharma / Fayaz Bukhari
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Jan 22: Famous tourist resort, Gulmarg in Kashmir, the sacred cave of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi and major tourist destination of Jammu – Patnitop and many other places across J&K received fresh snowfall and rain since last night even as the minimum temperature in most parts of the valley has settled above freezing.
The entire region of Jammu was gripped by extreme cold conditions while the winter capital of Jammu experienced a sharp drop in temperature, about 7 degrees Celsius below normal today.
While the famous Mata Vaishnodevi shrine recorded around 6-7 inches of fresh snow tonight, the tourist resort of Patnitop recorded around 8-10 inches of snow till tonight. It was still snowing in many areas including Pancheri, Kud, Latti, Dudu, Basantgarh, Mahore-Gool, Batote, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Paddar, Chhatroo, Gandoh-Bhalessa, Doda, Banihal, Budhal, Bani-Sarthal, Machhedi, Loran , Dera Gali, Sawjian and others in Jammu area tonight.
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Helicopter and battery car service to the Mata Vaishnodevi shrine was suspended today due to bad weather, but restricted pilgrimage on foot has been permitted to the shrine. But there was very little movement of pilgrims due to the weekend COVID restriction, a police officer said in Bhawan. He said snowfall has continued at the shrine since evening and around 5 to 6 inches of snow was seen until 6 p.m.
Reports from Udhampur say the Chenani-Kud-Patnitop-Batote road was closed after snowfall and slippery road conditions, while travel on the Doda-Kishtwar road was also restricted after 6:30 p.m. due to heavy snowfall in the Batote area. It was raining across the region and many roads were closed.
Due to fresh snowfall and rain, the power supply to the whole areas of Pancheri, Mongri, Bhamag and Landhar has been interrupted. The same is true in the Latti-Dudu-Basantgarh region. The BSNL service in this belt (Latti-Dudu) has also been cut since last night. The road to Pancheri and Mongri was also closed due to fresh snowfall.
Traffic on the Thannamandi-Dera Gali-Bafliaz highway was also halted due to fresh snowfall at Dera Pass while authorities restricted traffic on the Jammu-Poonch highway in Bhimber Gali due to light snowfall. snow tonight. It was snowing when the latest reports came in around 7.30pm.
Reasi-Mahore, Mahore-Gool and Mahore Gulabgarh roads were also closed in addition to dozens of roads in Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar, Udhampur and Ramban regions due to snowfall and landslides.
The winter capital Jammu recorded a daytime temperature of 12 degrees Celsius today, about 7 degrees below normal. Batote recorded a minimum temperature of 1.2 degrees C, Bhaderwah 1.8 degrees C while Katra town recorded an overnight temperature of 7.2 degrees C.
SSP Traffic National Highway, Shabir Malik said traffic disruptions amidst rain continued in Ramban area due to landslides/rock blasting in Mehar, Seri, Cafeteria and Panthyal areas, but due to backup machinery at the sites the road was cleared. It was raining late tonight in Ramban and Banihal areas and light snowfall was also present in Banihal but the highway was crossed. It may block at any time due to increased snowfall and rain.
Malik said in view of the rain forecast, the authorities decided to suspend traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Sunday. But if the weather remains favourable, restricted traffic will be allowed after 11 a.m. tomorrow. People should start their journey from either side after confirmation from traffic control rooms in Jammu, Srinagar and Ramban, he added.
Meanwhile, rains hit the valley while Kashmir hills including Gulmarg received fresh snowfall today.
A meteorological department official said Srinagar received 1.6mm of rain today as the temperature was recorded at 2.3 degrees Celsius from 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.
Gulmarg had about 12cm of fresh snowfall and recorded a low of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius from minus 7.5 degrees Celsius the previous night. The temperature was 1.7 degrees Celsius above normal for this time of year.
Pahalgam had 3.5cm of snow and recorded a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius like last night.
Qazigund received 3.6cm of rainfall and recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius compared to 1.6 degrees Celsius the previous night.
Kokernag had 2.5cm of snow during this period and recorded a low of minus 1.9 degrees Celsius compared to 0.4 degrees Celsius the previous night.
Kupwara town in North Kashmir received 0.0mm of rain during the period as it recorded a low of 1.4 degrees Celsius from 1.2 degrees Celsius the previous night.
Leh recorded a low of minus 11.4 degrees Celsius from minus 12.0 degrees Celsius last night, while the mercury in Kargil stabilized at minus 15.0 degrees Celsius.
Drass recorded a low of minus 11.9 degrees Celsius from minus 21.4 degrees Celsius last night.
Weatherman said further western disturbances were affecting J&K and most likely focused on the Jammu Division, the Pir Panjal Range and South Kashmir.
“Under the influence of this system, widespread rain/snow is more likely to occur on January 22-23,” the official said.
He said the system would most likely focus on Jammu Division, Pir Panjal Range and South Kashmir.
“Moderate rains in the plains with snow on the highlands (heavy rains/snow in isolated places) in Jammu Division are expected during the above period,” he said.
Light snowfall over the plains and moderate snowfall over the middle and upper reaches of Kashmir division are also expected, especially over the northwestern, northern and central parts of Kashmir.
“Moderate snowfall on the plains of southern Kashmir with heavy snow at isolated spots on the highlands of southern Kashmir is expected during the above period.”
He said there might be landslides in the vulnerable places of Jammu-Srinagar highway and other hilly main roads.
Kashmir is currently in the grip of the harshest 40-day winter period, known locally as ‘Chillai Kalan, which started on December 21. It is followed by a 20-day ‘Chillai Khurd’ and a ‘Chillai Bachha’.