Snowfall forces highway closure
Cold Wave Grips Valley
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Apr 5: While plains in the Valley received light rainfall on Tuesday, heavy snowfall in south Kashmir forced closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
However officials said the highway was partially restored by late Tuesday evening but only the stranded vehicles were allowed to move. “Highway would be thrown open for two-way traffic on Wednesday,” Senior Superintendent of Police- Traffic G M Wadoo told Greater Kashmir.
He said that highway was closed due to fresh snowfall and rains on Tuesday morning and no vehicles were either allowed to leave Jammu or Srinagar this morning. “Weather has improved and passenger vehicles will be allowed to ply on the highway tomorrow. However, no load carriers would be allowed to move on the road,” he added.
While the weatherman forecast more rains in plains and snowfall in upper reaches in next 24 hours, temperature dipped further in the valley.
The cold breeze from the snow-clad mountains plummeted temperature in the Valley forcing the people to put on woollen clothes.
However, despite poor visibility, officials said all the flights operated to and from the Valley today.
Officials said the Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed this morning after heavy snowfall in upper reaches of Qazigund in south Kashmir and other side of the tunnel. Till evening, 25.6 mm of rain and snowfall was recorded at Qazigund and on way to the highway.
“The heavy snowfall in Qazigund and Shaitani Nallah caused slippery conditions forcing closure of the highway to prevent any mishap. Due to continuous snow clearance operation by the Beacon authorities, the highway has been partially restored this evening. Eighty vehicles which were stranded near Ramban have passed the tunnel,” the Superintendent of Police (Rural) Kashmir, GM Wadoo told Greater Kashmir.
Officials said a heavy gas tanker got stranded near Qazigund due to accumulation of snow. “The tanker has blocked the road leading to the tunnel. The tanker is so heavy it couldn’t be moved by normal cranes. We have contacted the gas company to immediately dispatch heavy cranes to the spot for moving the tanker,” the SP said.
The SP said subject to fair weather conditions, traffic will be allowed both from Srinagar and Jammu on Wednesday. “But heavy vehicles will be only allowed to move from Jammu to Srinagar in view of slippery conditions at many places along the highway,” the SP added.
After continuous overnight downpour for past few days, Srinagar today received 0.4 mm of rains till 5.30 pm. The temperature witnessed a sharp dip in Srinagar with day temperature recorded at 7.6 degree Celsius, nearly 10 degrees below the normal for this month. The night temperature was recorded at 3.2 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal. At many places in Srinagar, people had lit bonfires to wade off the chilling cold.
The famous ski-resort Gulmarg which witnessed fresh snowfall on Monday recorded a minimum temperature of minus 5.2 deg Celsius today. A thick fog had engulfed the resort affecting the vehicular movement through mountainous route to it.
Rains continued to lash other areas of the Valley including Kupwara and Kokernag.
Islamabad town also received light snowfall with rains. Till reports last came in, three inches of snow had accumulated at Kulgam.
A Meteorological Department official said light rain and snowfall would occur at many places in the state in next 24 hours.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 5 Apr 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 5 Apr 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 6 Apr 2011 00:00:00 IST
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