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Fresh snowfall affects road, air connectivity

Srinagar, Feb 6: Road and air traffic between Kashmir and rest of the country was suspended on Wednesday due to heavy snowfall across the valley, officials said.
Of the 27 flights scheduled to arrive at the Srinagar Airport, 15 have been cancelled so far due to poor visibility and heavy snowfall, an official of the Airport Authority of India said.
He said if there is no improvement in the weather conditions, the possibility of other flights arriving was bleak.
The traffic control department said the arterial Srinagar-Jammu road had to be closed for vehicular traffic following snowfall and rains, which triggered landslides at several places.
“No vehicles are being allowed on the highway due to landslides caused by rain and snowfall,” the official of the traffic department said.
He said a decision on resuming traffic will be taken only after debris of landslides is cleared and the weather improves.
The Traffic Department was set to allow one-way traffic from Srinagar to Jammu on Wednesday, but the decision was reviewed as weather deteriorated all along the- nearly 300 km long road.
“Nightlong rains triggered shooting stones in some portions of the highway in Ramsoo-Ramban sector.
“Right now, the highway is closed for traffic. The decision will be again be reviewed depending upon the weather,” a traffic official said.
“While the plains of the Jammu division will receive rain, higher reaches both in Jammu and valley region will receive moderate to heavy snowfall,” a Met official said.
There have been nightlong rains in the Jammu division while fresh snowfall occurred in the Kashmir mountains, including on the Pir Panjal range, the official added.
Srinagar recorded 1 degree Celsius while Pahalgam and Gulmarg recorded minus 0.6 and minus 4.6 respectively.
In the Ladakh area, Leh recorded minus 4.3, Kargil minus 16 and Drass minus 6.3 degrees Celsius.
Jammu city was at 11.6, Katra 10.8, Batote 1.4, Bannihal 1 and Bhaderwah was at 2 degrees Celsius.
The Met has forecast widespread rain and snow in Jammu and Kashmir during the next 48 hours till Friday.
Over a dozen flights were cancelled till noon due to heavy snowfall and poor visibility at the Srinagar airport, officials said.
“Due to heavy snowing and poor visibility over Srinagar airfield the following flights are cancelled. This update is of flight movements up to 1200hrs,” Srinagar airport authorities said on Twitter while detailing the fifteen flights that were cancelled.

12 injured as boulder hits vehicle on Sg-Jmu highway
Press Trust of India
Banihal, Feb 6: At least 12 passengers, including a woman, were injured after their vehicle was hit by a boulder along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway, which had to be eventually closed for traffic on Wednesday following fresh snowfall and incessant rains, officials said.
The Jammu-bound vehicle was hit by a shooting stone from a hillock overlooking the highway at Moumpassi-Ramsu in Ramban district late Tuesday evening, causing serious injuries to the woman, who is from Bihar, and minor injuries to 11 others, they said.
Most of the injured were discharged after first aid, while the woman who has suffered head injuries, has been referred to the Government Medical College hospital Jammu, they said.
Nine Bihar residents and one each from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were travelling from Srinagar to Jammu in the vehicle driven by a local driver from Anantnag, the officials said.
They said the incident Tuesday evening did not have any impact on the movement of vehicles on the highway and later the authorities decided to continue traffic from Srinagar to Jammu on Wednesday as well.
However, the decision was reviewed Wednesday morning after which no traffic was allowed on the highway following fresh snowfall in the higher reaches and incessant rains in the plains.
The Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway to Kashmir, experienced fresh snowfall leaving the road slippery, while incessant rains triggered landslides and shooting-of-stones at several places including Anokhi fall, battery cheshma and Panthiyal, the officials said.
The inclement weather is hampering the road clearance operation, they said, adding once the weather improves, efforts would be made to restore traffic on the highway as early as possible.
The highway had remained closed for over 15 days since the beginning of the new year owing to intermittent spells of snowfall and rains. On Tuesday, the one-way traffic was allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu after five days.
High altitude areas of Jammu and Kashmir experienced fresh spell of snowfall, while the plains were lashed by rains since Tuesday night.
The Met office has already predicted widespread to fairly widespread rain and snow across the state till tomorrow evening.