Fresh snowfall blankets Kashmir, closes highway   


    Srinagar: The fresh snowfall blanketed Kashmir Valley Friday, resulting in closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway besides disruption of normal life.
    An official of the meteorological department told a Kupwara in north Kashmir witnessed 11.7 mm of snow (when melted) from 0830 to 1730 hours today.  
    Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, witnessed 6.7mm of snowfall followed by Qazigund with the southern Kashmir area recording 5.6mm of snow.
    Pahalgam, one of the famous health resorts in Kashmir valley, had 5.2mm of snow while neighboring Kokernag area, had 2.6mm of snowfall during the time, the MeT official said.
    Aamir Ali, Coordinator Disaster Management Cell in Kashmir division said that Gulmarg received over one feet of fresh snowfall while its upper reaches including Affarwath had downpour of more than what was recorded in the plans of the world famous ski resort.
    He said that Tangmarg had about six inches of snow while most plains in the Baramulla district had snowfall ranging between four to six inches.  
    As per reports, he said, Shopian district in south Kashmir had about 4 inches of snow by this afternoon.
    Kulgam and Damhal Hanjipora areas had six to ten inches of snow on the ground while it was still snowing, Aamir Ali said. 
    Central Kashmir districts—Ganderbal and Budgam, also recorded snowfall and was more think on the ground in Gund Kangan and Khag.
    Budgam district alone had about seven inches of the snow by late in the afternoon, Aamir Ali, who is also On Special Duty with Divisional commissioner, said.  
    Besides historical Mughal road, the authorities have already directed not to allow movement of traffic on Sonamarg-Gumri road, Bandipore-Gurez road, Daksum-Kishtwar road, Kupwara-Machil, Keran, Tangdar, and any other road vulnerable from snow point of view.
     The snowfall disrupted normal life in entire Kashmir valley. The movement of traffic on the road was thin than the normal and those plying were seen moving at slow pace to avoid any mishap in wake of the slip associated with the snowfall.
    The weatherman has already predicted moderate to heavy snowfall in tomorrow also and had said that the weather would improve by Sunday afternoon.
    Valley cutoff
    Officials said the 300-km, Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed by the authorities due to heavy snowfall around Jawahar Tunnel and other places which resulted in slippery road conditions and rendered the highway unsafe for movement of the traffic. However, no vehicles or travelers were stranded on the only road link on the only road link that connects Valley with the outer world.
    Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Highways, Ghulam Mohammad Wadoo said the traffic on the highway was suspended this morning due to the heavy snowfall around the 2.5 km Jawahar Tunnel. He said beacon has pressed into service its men and machinery to make the highway motorable.
     “Due to snowfall, not even 4/4 vehicles are working. We’re trying hard to restore the highway,” he added.


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