Weather improved in Kashmir on Wednesday and Jammu-Srinagar highway re-opened partially after remaining closed for two days. But Meteorological Department has predicted widespread rains and snowfall for five days from Sunday, January 22.
"There is improvement in weather, however there are chances of snow and rains at higher reaches in next 24 hours," Deputy Director MeT office Mukhtar Ahmad told Greater Kashmir. He said there will be downward trend in temperatures as the skies will remain clear during nights till January 22. "The coming nights will be cold."
The officer said that there will be widespread rains and snow from Sunday, January 22, as strong Western Disturbance is approach J&K.
MeT officials said that there were reports of light rain and snowfall at isolated places in Kashmir during last 24 hours. However, on Wednesday evening there was fresh light snowfall in some parts of Kashmir that included Gulmarg and Pahalgam.
In view of fresh prediction, the Divisional Administration has issued a weather advisory. "A fresh Western Disturbance over J&K is likely to affect the State from 22 January afternoon to 26 January. Under the influence of this system moderate rain/snow is expected in most places of J&K region," a statement of the Divisional Administration said.
The statement said that higher reaches of Kashmir, Ladakh and hilly areas of Jammu are likely to receive moderate to heavy snowfall during the period. "This may lead to closure of National Highway and disruption of surface and air transport," the statement said.
Accordingly, Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir Division including Leh and Kargil have been asked to take precautionary measures in their respective districts.
Jammu-Srinagar highway opened partially after remaining closed for two consecutive days, Traffic officials said. They said incase of fair weather conditions traffic will be allowed to move from Jammu towards Srinagar on Thursday.
Pertinently, hundreds of vehicles, including those carrying passengers, were stranded on the 300-km-long highway. However, stranded vehicles on the highway were cleared on Wednesday and road was opened partially for traffic.
"The stranded vehicles on the highway, including those carrying passengers, have been allowed to proceed towards their respective destinations," traffic officials said adding that landslides at Panthal, Patnitop, Shaitan Nallah and some other places have been almost cleared. "Men and Machinery of BRO is on job to clear the road."
Senior Superintendent of Police, Highway, Fayaz Ahmad Lone said that keeping in view the condition of the road as a result of recent heavy rain/snow fall, especially between Udhampur – Ramsoo and Banihal to Levdora (Qazigund) coupled with narrow width of road at certain places, only one way movement of traffic is feasible/advisable on Srinagar- Jammu highway.
"As such on Thursday, movement of traffic shall be allowed from Jammu towards Srinagar side only," SSP Traffic told Greater Kashmir. He said that under the plan, heavy motor vehicles (HMVs) including convoys of Army, BSF, CRPF (excluding trailers/ multi-axle vehicles) shall be allowed from Nagrota, Jammu from 0700 hours up to 1100 hours and at Udhampur up to 1300 hours only. "The movement of all types of LMVs/passenger vehicles and oil tankers shall be shall be allowed from Nagrota, Jammu from 0600 hours up to 1300 hours and at Udhampur up to 1430 hours only," he said adding that no movement of vehicles including that of convoys of Army, BSF, CRPF etc. shall be allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu side on 19.01.2017 under any circumstances.
FLIGHT OPERATIONS RESUME:
The flight operations which came to halt on Tuesday due to bad weather resumed on Wednesday. "Two flights were canceled in morning. Later flights operated normally," SSP Srinagar Airport, Manzoor Ahmad, told Greater Kashmir.
TRANSPORT DISRUPTED ON WEDNESDAY:
Reports said that accumulation of fresh snow on rail tracks forced suspension of Baramulla-Bannihal rail service on Wednesday.
They said that transport service between Srinagar and other district headquarters was also disrupted due to slippery roads and accumulation of snow. The roads in the business hub of Lal Chowk and other Srinagar parts continued to remain inundated thereby resulting in severe problems in the movement of traffic and pedestrians.
Srinagar city received 9 cm snow during the last 24 hours till Wednesday morning, while Gulmarg and Pahalgam received 24 and 19 cm snow respectively.
"Tuesday's maximum temperature was 0.4 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature was minus 2.5 degrees Celsius in Srinagar on Wednesday," officials said adding that the minimum temperature was minus 4 degrees Celsius in Pahalgam and minus 9 degrees Celsius in Gulmarg.