Fresh snowfall disrupts surface, air traffic; mercury drops in Valley

R The fresh snowfall across the Kashmir Valley led to drop in mercury on Saturday even as air traffic at the Srinagar airport was disrupted while the Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed for vehicular movement.

A meteorological department official told GNS said the mercury dipped to 4.1 degree Celsius in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state. He said night temperature rose and settled at minus 0.8 degree Celsius in the capital city last night and it has a snowfall of 2mm.

The official said Qazigund the gateway town to the Valley recorded a maximum of 3.0 degrees Celsius (below 3 degrees from normal) and low of minus 0.8 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag registered a low of minus 2.4 and maximum of 2.7 degrees Celsius.

The night temperature in Pahalgam, also in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 7.1 degrees Celsius while it had a maximum of 1.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.

The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded the minimum temperature of minus 3.3 degrees Celsius while as day temperature dropped to minus 3.3 degrees Celsius, he said.

Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius while it had a maximum of 1.8 degrees Celsius, he said.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.

‘Chillai-Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir.

The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).

Regarding the forecast for the next 24 hours, the weatherman said that there was the possibility of light to moderate rain and snow at most places over the state with heavy snow at isolated places.

Officials at Srinagar International Airport said due to poor visibility, all morning and afternoon flights to and from the airport were canceled.

The Traffic department officials said due to fresh snowfall and keeping the safety of travelers in mind, traffic on the highway, the only surface link connecting Valley with the rest of the world was suspended.

Meanwhile, authorities have decided not to allow on Sunday any fresh traffic on Srinagar-Jammu highway on Sunday

“In view of inclement weather conditions as well as weather forecast made by Meteorological Department. No, any fresh vehicle shall be allowed to ply on Srinagar-Jammu (highway) on 13.01.2019,” said a traffic department official said. However, he said only stranded vehicles shall be allowed to move.

Mughal road, which connects Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in the Jammu region, also remained closed. (GNS)