Snowfall cuts off Kashmir valley; air, surface traffic halted

The Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which runs through south Kashmir’s Qazigund area, was also closed for traffic.

A fresh spell of snowfall on Saturday cut off Kashmir valley from the rest of the country, as both air and surface traffic were affected.

An official said that Kashmir-bound flights were cancelled because the runway of the Srinagar airport was not feasible for landing as well as take-off due to snow accumulation.

“The disruption in the air traffic is expected if the snowfall continues. Any final decision on cancellation of flights will be taken only after the real time assessment,” the official said.

The Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which runs through south Kashmir’s Qazigund area, was also closed for traffic.

“No vehicular movement shall be allowed on Jammu-Srinagar highway from either side on January 25 in view of the shooting stones and mudslides at several places on the thoroughfare and snow accumulation around the Jawahar Tunnel,” a traffic department official said.

Mussarat ul Islam, Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, which is a major stop on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, directed local officials “to make necessary arrangements for stranded passengers in designated shelter sheds”.

“Officers should stay at their headquarters to deal with any emergency that may arise due to the rains and snowfall. Men and machinery have also been put on alert,” Mr. Islam said.

Kashmir witnessed a fresh spell of snowfall on Saturday morning, enveloping the plains in a layer of snow.

According to official figures, plains of Kupwara and Baramulla in north Kashmir received six to eight inches of snow; Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal in central Kashmir received four to eight inches and the plains of south Kashmir three to six inches. “Kulgam’s Ahrabal received the highest — 12 inches of snowfall,” the official said.

“The weather system is likely to persist during the next 8-10 hours and gradually improve thereafter,” the meteorological department said.

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