Sunday, November 18, 2018 | 5:36 AM


Srinagar gets November snowfall after 9 years

Sunday, November 4, 2018
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Life paralysed, Highway closed, Flights cancelled, Temperatures plummet, Man dies due to lightening at Uri, Mughal Road remains closed
Kashmir on Saturday received fresh snowfall throwing life out of gear even as weatherman predicted improvement in weather from Monday. Srinagar received the snowfall in the month of November after a period of nine years.

Last time Srinagar had witnessed snowfall in the month of November was in 2009.  This is fourth time since 2000 when Srinagar recorded snowfall in November. It was earlier in 2004, 2008 and 2009, reveal records available with meteorological department.
 
Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for traffic and several flights from Srinagar International Airport were cancelled because of erratic weather.

Most parts of Kashmir received the snowfall from Saturday morning. However in Srinagar it began to snow in the afternoon and it was going on when this report was filed in the late evening.

The fresh snowfall and rains, MET officials said, were witnessed in Srinagar, Pahalgam, Kupwara, Banihal, Batote, Qazigund and Gulmarg. They said snowfall was light to moderate. The snowfall also led to further decline in temperature.

MeT officials said Srinagar recorded 4 cm of snow, while as the city recorded a maximum of 6.3 degrees Celsius temperature and a minimum of 8.6 degrees Celsius.

According to MeT officials, Gulmarg recorded 31 cm snowfall. The tourist sport recorded a maximum of minus 1.3 degree Celsius temperature and a minimum of 3.0 degrees Celsius.

Pahalgam received 18 cm of snowfall. The temperature at the place was a maximum of 6.2 degrees Celsius and a minimum of  0.4 degrees Celsius.  Kupwara, they said, recorded 2 cm of snow while a minimum of 6.3 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 2.9 degrees Celsius temperature.

On Saturday, sources said vehicular traffic remained disrupted because of the snow on most of roads in the rural areas. The traffic was affected on some roads in Srinagar also.

Srinagar witnessed frequent traffic jams.  The rural areas also reeled under darkness due of failure of Power Development Department to restore the electricity.

Most parts of Srinagar city reeled under darkness as the lines had snapped by the snow.

 “The weather will start improving fully from Monday,” Director, MET department, Sonam Lotus, told Greater Kashmir.

He said the sky will remain cloudy and minimum temperatures will decrease while as maximum temperatures will rise in the coming days. “In next 24 hours there can be scattered rains and snow, but the weather will overall improve from Monday.”

The snowfall, MeT officials said, will lead to increase in the night temperatures. They said the minimum temperature will likely increase.

HIGHWAY CLOSED:

The Srinagar-Jammu highway, the only surface link of Valley with rest of world was closed as landslides hit the road at several places. 

Scores of heavy and light vehicles which were moving from Srinagar to Jammu were stranded at the road.  

“Road is closed and we are trying to re-open it,” superintendent of police, traffic (Rural) Muzaffer Ahmad Shah told Greater Kashmir. 

He said that men and machinery were on to clear the road. “Once we re-open the road the stranded traffic will be cleared.”

Mughal road and Srinagar-Leh continued to remain closed while roads leading to hilly areas that included Tangdhar, Machil and Keran in northern Kashmir have been closed for traffic.   

FLIGHTS CANCELLED

Airport officials said they had to cancel around 10 flights from Srinagar International Airport because of bad weather. “There was poor visibility and runway was under snow,” officials said adding that they were hopeful that operations will start tomorrow.  “Snow is being cleared from the runway.”

MAN DIES AT URI 

A man was killed after lightning hit him at Gowhalan Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Saturday. 

Sher Ahmad, 38, son of Mir Ahmad, a resident of Gowhalan Uri, according to sources, stepped out of his home at around 9 am on Saturday. “Soon he was hit by the lightning,” they said. 

“Though, he was immediately rushed to the local hospital, however, the doctors declared him brought dead,” sources said. 

Meanwhile, the uninterrupted rains during Friday night followed by snow on Saturday left many roads waterlogged in Baramulla district. The rain water was seen overflowing from the choked drains in several areas in Baramulla town. 

 “The poor drainage system is always resulting in the water logging in our area. Despite requesting the civic authorities to clean the drains at regular intervals, they don’t give attention to our repeated requests” said Imtiyaz Ahmad, who was removing rain water from his shop at Kanlibagh road. 

The severe water logging on Tehsil road Baramulla created huge problem to pedestrians as well as shopkeepers along the road on Saturday. 

The water logging on the tehsil road during the rainy season is often due to the poor drainage system, which authorities failed to fix during the last few years. 

The people also complained about the power breakdown in the areas. They said they faced immense problems due to power failure. 

Meanwhile, an official at the control room Baramulla said that around 16 snow clearance machines had been kept at standby mode at district headquarter Baramulla , while 7 such machines had been dispatched to Gulmarg. 

SRINAGAR-KARGIL HIGHWAY CLOSED 

The strategic Srinagar-Kargil highway remained closed for vehicular traffic on the third consecutive day on Saturday due to heavy snowfall.

An official told Greater Kashmir that the Srinagar-Kargil highway remained closed for traffic on Saturday for the third consecutive day due to heavy snowfall in the upper reaches including Zojila pass.

He said the traffic on Sonamarg road was restricted due to the continuous snowfall and slippery road conditions. 

Sources said Sonamarg received about 2 feet deep snowfall on Saturday. 

Meanwhile the residents complained that with the snowfall, the electricity got snapped.

AVALANCHE IN TULAIL

Heavy snowfall on Saturday triggered an avalanche in Tulail area of Gurez valley in north Kashmir's Bandipora district.

An official said the avalanche was triggered by heavy snowfall in Ape Bagh of Tulail, blocking the Tulail-Dawar road.

The area has been receiving snowfall for past three days. “There was no immediate report of any loss of life or property,” the official said.

Meanwhile, plains in Bandipora district received season’s first snowfall while as upper reaches have been witnessing continuous snowfall for three days.

The heavy snowfall has thrown life out of gear in most of the parts of Bandipora district particularly in the upper reaches including Gurez valley. 

Bandipora-Gurez road was closed on Friday for traffic after Razdan Pass received heavy snowfall.

Deputy commissionerBandipora, DrShahid Iqbal Choudhary wrote on Twitter that men and machinery have been deputed for snow clearance operations in Dawar, Achoora and Churwan. “BRO is also on job at Razdan Pass. Bandipora-Gurez road will remain closed till clearance from the control room,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, he wrote, “Crop loss due to snowfall will be compensated. Our team is reaching out.”

Sub-divisional magistrate Gurez Sandeep Singh Bali issued an advisory asking people of Gurez not to venture in upper reaches of Tulail and adjoining areas as heavy snowfall is going on since yesterday and there are chances of avalanches.

TRAFFIC SUSPENDED IN KUPWARA BORDER AREAS

Authorities Saturday ordered closure of vehicular traffic for two days in border areas of Kupwara district in view of heavy snowfall. 

Sadhna Top connecting border town of Tangdhar and other far-flung areas including those near the Line of Control (LoC) here was closed due to fresh rains and snowfall on Saturday morning.

Sources said the roads have become slippery. They said since Saturday morning the vehicular movement was suspended as a precautionary measure to avoid any accident as the areas are prone to snow avalanche.

Kupwara-Tangdhar Road 

Kupwara-Tangdhar Road is closed as over two-feet deep snow has accumulated at Sadhna Top. “To avoid any kind of accident, the roads have been closed for vehicle movement for two days and the work for road clearance will start once the weather improves,” said deputy development commissioner Kupwara Khalid Jehangir.

He said the same holds true for the Kupwara-Machil and the Kupwara-Keran roads where more than a feet deep snow has accumulated. “The vehicular movement is also suspended on these roads for two days,” DDC said.

“It has started raining at Farkiyan, Z-gali, Sadhna top. In case of any improvement in the weather and road condition, we will try to restore the connectivity.” DDC added.

The residents of Tangdhar have been demanding a tunnel for decades now to bypass the treacherous track. “The area is avalanche prone and every year casualties are reported on the stretch. A tunnel will make Tangdhar accessible throughout the year without people having to go through the risk of taking the other route,” said Zubair Ahmad of Tangdhar.  

Earlier this year, 11 persons died when their vehicles came under a snow avalanche near Sadhna top.

In March this year, a Border Road organization driver died when his JCB was washed away in snow avalanche while clearing snow at Farkiyan which connects border town of Keran with Kupwara.

KOKERNAG-SINTHAN-KISHTWAR ROAD CLOSED

Due to season’s first snowfall on Saturday the Kokernag-Sinthan-Kishtwar road was closed following heavy rains and snowfall. 

Heavy snowfall witnessed in southern Shopian, DH Pora, Kulgam, Kokernag, Daksum, Chatapal, Pahalgam, Qazigund, Lowermunda, and Banihal tunnel. While as few centimetres of snowfall received in lower reaches.

Most parts of southern Kashmir remained without power. Even the essential services like hospitals had to face extended power cuts, leaving the healthcare in disarray.

The snowfall also affected movement of traffic during the day and lead to traffic jams at many places as the roads were rendered slippery.

Meanwhile, various police stations have established helpline numbers in southern districts in case of emergency due to prevailing weather. The people have asked to keep contact with nearest police stations. 

DAY 3: MUGHAL ROAD REMAINS CLOSED, 150 PERSONS RESCUED, 104 VEHICLES STUCK 

Over 150 persons have been rescued by authorities in last two days of rescue operation on Mughal road which remained closed for the third consecutive day today with as many as 104 vehicles still stuck in snow hit road.

Continuous rainfall along with heavy snowfall on higher reaches spread cold wave in the PirPanjal region affecting normal life badly.

Senior superintendent of police, Poonch, Rajiv Pandey told Greater Kashmir that around 150 persons have been rescued in the last two days from Mughal Road.

"The vehicles have got stuck there due to rainfall. Rescue operation is going on from Friday morning and we have rescued 150 persons so far," SSP said.

The SSP added that around thirty passengers travelling in eight light motor vehicles were rescued on Friday morning, sixty truckers on Friday afternoon.

SSP Pandey informed that another distress call was received last night after which rescue operation was launched and sixty seven drivers and cleaners were rescued last night which continued till 3am today.

"Teams of police, civil administration and army are jointly carrying out rescue operation with officers including sub divisional magistrate, Saleem Qureshi, deputy superintendent of police, Reyaz Ahmed, station house officer, Som Raj, senior army officers from army's RR sector headquarter.  They are jointly carrying out rescue operation with men and machinery," SSP Poonch added.

Another police official said that approximate number of vehicles stuck on Mughal Road at this moment is 104 but all the passengers, drivers and cleaners stand rescued and most of the vehicles are fruit laden trucks.

He added Pir Ki Gali has received one and a half feet deep snow and road remained closed for third day today.

General officer in commanding, Romeo force, Maj Gen PS Bajwa told mediapersons that rescue operation has been conducted in assistance with other authorities and the persons stuck in snow hit road have been rescued. Meanwhile, due to rainfall on third day as well as snowfall on higher reaches for second consecutive day today, temperature plummeted further affecting normal life badly.