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Rains, snow break dry spell

Srinagar, Jan 30: The seven-week dry spell ended in Kashmir on Tuesday with higher reaches of the Kashmir getting fresh snowfall while rains lashed the plains even as the minimum temperatures rose across the region to breach the freezing point for first time this year.

Moderate to heavy snowfall is going on in higher reaches in north Kashmir, which led to closure of roads leading to Macchil, Keran and Karnah, a police official said.

 

He said Gulmarg skiing resort also received fresh snowfall and three inches of fresh snow had accumulated there.

The plains across the valley received light rainfall since early morning, the official said.

The downpour has ended seven weeks of dry weather in Kashmir, which had resulted in problems for elderly and children, while the minimum temperature also appreciated by several degrees at most places.

Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 2.2 degrees Celsius, up from minus 1.6 degrees Celsius the previous night, an official of the MET department said here.

The night temperature in Qazigund town in south Kashmir was 0.2 degrees Celsius compared to minus 3.8 degrees Celsius previous night while nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius last night, up by nearly two degrees, the official said.

Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of 0.4 degrees Celsius against minus 3.4 degrees Celsius the previous night.

Roads to dozens of areas in upper reaches, including those near the Line of Control (LoC) were closed on Tuesday due to heavy to very snowfall since Monday night. “Due to snow, the roads leading to Sadhna top, Razdan pass, Z-Gali and Phirkiyan have been closed,” officials said. “We have closed road from Bandipora to border town of Gurez after three feet of snowfall at Razdan pass and still snowing,” an official said. He said around one and half feet snow had accumulated so far.

The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was through for traffic despite rain, a traffic police official said on Tuesday.

However, he said Heavy Motor Vehicle traffic will continue to ply one-way only on the highway. Today we allowed HMV traffic from Srinagar to Jammu and no heavy vehicle, including security force convoy, would be allowed from opposite direction, he said.

However, Light Motor Vehicle traffic will ply from both side. The historic 86-km-long Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, which was closed last month, experienced fresh snowfall since Monday night.

About one to two feet of fresh snowfall was experienced at Pir-ki-Gali and other places.

The road is likely to reopen in April. Fresh snowfall was experienced on Srinagar-Leh national highway between Sonamarg-Zojila-Meenmarg.

The highway is closed since last month due to slippery road conditions. However, only on Monday people of Drass and Kargil protested demanding early reopening of the highway in view of the less snowfall this winter.

The official said the night temperature in Pahalgam, the famous health resort which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra, settled at a low of 1.2 degrees Celsius against minus 2.3 degrees Celsius previous night.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius against minus 5.6 degrees Celsius previous night.

It was the coldest recorded place in the valley last night.

The mercury in Kargil town, in Ladakh region, remained unchanged at minus 15.0 degrees Celsius, the official said.

He said Kargil continued to be the coldest recorded place in the state.

The nearby Leh town was the second coldest as the mercury there settled at a low of minus 11.9 degrees Celsius up two degrees from previous night.

Kashmir is currently under the grip of Chillai-Kalan, a 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.

It ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in the valley.

The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold)