Srinagar: The summer capital, Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir valley received fresh snowfall on Sunday though the night temperature witnessed major improvement and settled above normal.
Meanwhile, the valley has been cut off from rest of the country as the air and road connectivity has been snapped in view of light to moderate snowfall since late last night.
Even though there was an improvement of about 4 degree in the night temperature, the border town of Kargil in the Union Territory of Ladakh was the coldest place in the region, followed by Leh, where the mercury plunged about 3 degree and settled at minus 12 degree. All the waterbodies in Ladakh remained frozen as the maximum and minimum temperature in the UT has been settling several degrees below sub-zero. The maximum temperature recorded in Kargil and Leh was minus 6.1 degree and minus 4.5 degree, respectively.
A Met department spokesperson told UNI a fresh Western Disturbance (WD), which originated from the Arabian Sea and approached the region through Afghanistan and Pakistan, has hit the region on Saturday night.
He said under the influence of the WD, light to moderate rain and snow is expected at most places in Kashmir and Zojila area of Ladakh for three days from Sunday. “Weather is expected to improve from Thursday onwards,” he added.
He said a weather warning has been issued for Tuesday, when heavy rain and snow could occur at some places in the valley.
An official said that many flight were on Sunday cancelled while others were delayed due to accumulation of several inches of snow on the runway at Srinagar International Airports. “Flights will be allowed to operate from the only airport in the valley after clearance of snow and improvement in visibility,” he added.
Meanwhile, much to the delight of the tourists, Gulmarg, about 55 km from here in north Kashmir, received about 5 inches of fresh snowfall. Kongdori and Apharwat, the highest point of the cable car project in Gulmarg, also received moderate snowfall. “Despite chilly weather conditions and fresh snowfall, the tourists are out on ski slopes, which are already covered under several feet of snow, enjoying different activities,” a hotelier told UNI over the phone.
The mercury at Gulmarg, which is known for its ski slopes and quality of snow, improved over 2 degrees from Saturday and settled at minus 5 degree, about 2 degree above normal.
Tree and roof tops, electric poles and transmission wire besides open fields and roads had turned white as people woke up in Srinagar, which received heaviest snowfall of the winter so far since early this morning. The night temperature in the city improved over 4 degrees from Saturday due to overcast conditions and settled at minus 1.5 degree, which is slightly above normal.
Police in several districts of the valley have issued emergency helpline numbers to help general public in view of snowfall.
The 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was closed for traffic movement on Sunday due to fresh snowfall and rain since early this morning. Both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal received about 3 to 4 inches of fresh snowfall. Qazigund, gateway to the valley, also received fresh snowfall since early this morning. The mercury at Qazigund improved about 6 degree from Saturday and settled at minus 0.2 degree, which is about 3 degree above normal.
World famous health resort of Pahalgam, about 100 km from here in south Kashmir, received about seven inches of fresh snowfall since wee hours on Sunday, resulting in dip in the day temperature. But, the night temperature at the health resort improved about 7 degrees from Saturday and settled at minus 1.5 degree, which is 5 degree above normal.
The upper reaches in Pahalgam, including Chandanwari, received light to moderate snowfall. Amarnath cave shine and its periphery, besides Sheshnag, Mahagung, Pisso top and Panjterni, also received moderate to heavy snowfall. Another tourist resort of Kokernag, where the night temperature improved about 5 degrees from Saturday and settled at minus 1.4 degree, received about 10 inches of fresh snowfall.
Other parts of the valley also received fresh light to moderate snowfall since early this morning. The border town of Gurez and dozens of other far flung villages, including those near the Line of Control (LOC), were on Sunday cut off from rest of the valley due to slippery road conditions following fresh snowfall. Razdan pass, connecting Gurez, Neeru and dozens of other areas near LoC with district headquarters Bandipora, received about a foot fresh snowfall overnight.