Kashmir was cut off from the rest of India for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as air and road connectivity was snapped because of snowfall across the Valley, reported PTI. Flight operations to and from Srinagar also remained suspended for the second day due to poor visibility, officials said.
Jammu-Srinagar national highway and Mughal Road, two major links connecting the Valley to the country, were closed, stranding about 4,500 vehicles at different places along the highway. Most of the stranded vehicles are trucks, carrying essentials to Kashmir. The administration, however, said that essential services were least affected by the snowfall in the Valley.
Mughal Road, which connects the Valley to Jammu through the Shopian-Rajouri axis, has been shut down for several days because of the heavy snowfall.
“The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is closed due to accumulation of snow at many places, especially around Jawahar Tunnel,” an official of the traffic control department said. He said that snow clearing operations were underway and that efforts were on to clear the stranded vehicles.
In its daily forecast bulletin, the India Meteorological Department said that heavy to vert heavy snowfall was likely at isolated areas over Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
A meteorological department spokesperson said that a fresh western disturbance hit the region on the night of January 2, according to The Kashmir Walla. “Weather is expected to improve from Thursday onwards,” he said, adding that a weather warning was issued for Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir disaster management department has issued a medium level avalanche warning for high-lying areas of Anantnag, Doda, Kulgam, Poonch, Ramban, Rajouri, Kishtwar, Kupwara, Kulgam and Bandipora districts, reported ANI.
Officials said that the highest snowfall was recorded in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. It received around four feet of snow. Anantnag district also received heavy snowfall, the officials said.
Srinagar was receiving medium snowfall for the past few days but snow clearing operations in the city ensured that the traffic was not affected. Snow clearing operations were also underway in inter-district routes as well as major roads linking tehsil headquarters to district headquarters.
Officials said the minimum temperature improved but remained below zero degrees Celsius at most places. Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of minus 0.8 degrees Celsius up from Sunday’s minus 0.9 degrees.
The minimum temperature in Gulmarg tourist resort was recorded at minus 4 degrees Celsius against minus 5 degrees Celsius a night before.
Kashmir is currently affected by the “Chillai-Kalan’’ – a 40-day period of harsh winter initiated by cold waves when the temperature falls considerably and leads to the freezing of water bodies. The cold wave conditions began on December 21 and will end on January 31. However, the cold wave continues with a 20-day-long “Chillai-Khurd’’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long “Chillai-Bachha’’ (baby cold).