Heavy snowfall in Kashmir, avalanche warning issued

Srinagar : Heavy snowfall lashed the Kashmir Valley Sunday and the Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed for traffic to prevent accidents. The authorities have issued an avalanche warning for people living in the higher reaches of the Valley.

Srinagar received six inches of snow till 8 a.m. and it continued snowing throughout the day.

Gulmarg had received a foot of fresh snow, Pahalgam three inches, Ganderbal six inches, Badgam five inches, Bandipora five inches, Baramulla four inches, Shopian three inches and Anantnag one inch till 8 a.m.

The minimum temperature in Srinagar was minus 3.5 degrees Celsius, minus 6.9 in Pahalgam and minus 9.6 in Gulmarg.

Intermittent snowfall continued in Srinagar throughout the day with reports of heavy snowfall from Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Khilanmarg, Gurez, Tangdhar, Machil, Keran, Chowkibal and Uri.

The authorities have warned of avalanches.

“On the basis of information received from the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), the coordinator, disaster management Kashmir has issued a medium danger avalanche warning for the higher reaches of Khilanmarg, Uri, Chowkibal, Tangdhar, Keran, Machil and Gurez in the Valley.”

“The people living in these snow bound areas above the height of 7,500 feet have been advised not to venture in avalanche prone areas during the next 24 hours.

“They have also been advised to keep cleaning the snow from the roof tops of their houses to avoid any causality due to roof collapses.”

The Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed for vehicular traffic Sunday morning to prevent accidents on the highway as over two feet thick snow covered most of the road in Bannihal and Patnitop sectors of the over 300-kilometre long road.

All incoming and outgoing flights remained suspended from Srinagar International Airport Sunday because of the snowfall although the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) had cleared the runway.

The daylong snowfall has, however, broken the severe cold in the Valley that lasted for more than a fortnight.

The weather office has forecast moderate to heavy snowfall in the Valley till Monday although Sonam Lotus, director of the weather office said there would be decrease in precipitation from Monday afternoon onwards.

“There would be decrease in precipitation in the Valley from tomorrow (Monday) afternoon onwards”, Lotus said.

Snow clearance machines were moved out by the state administration in Srinagar city and other district headquarters of the valley to maintain inter and intra district road connectivity.

Despite the daylong snowfall, the local power development department managed to supply electricity in all the areas of Srinagar city and other towns of the Valley.

“Wherever there has been interruption in electric supply, we have moved the field staff to restore the supply there. Our field staff has been working round the clock since the present inclement weather started here”, Muhammad Muzaffar Mattoo, chief engineer (Electric Maintenance) Kashmir said here.

There have, however, been complaints of shortages of cooking gas from many parts of Srinagar city and other towns of the Valley.

Kashmir divisional commissioner, Asgar Hussain Samoon today directed the cooking gas companies to issue cooking gas cylinders to the local consumers filled with only five kilograms of gas till the supply position stabilizes after the Srinagar-Jammu highway is reopened for traffic.

People in many interior parts of the city and rural areas have complained that road connectivity continues to remain disrupted in these areas because of the snowfall.

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