Srinagar, Nov 27: The upper heights received moderate to heavy snowfall while plains, including summer capital, Srinagar, were lashed by rain in the Kashmir valley on Wednesday.
A Met department spokesman said as the fresh Western Disturbance (WD) is active in the region, there could be fairly widespread snow and rain in the Jammu and Kashmir during the next 24 hours.
Due to cloudy sky the maximum temperature was near normal while the day will become chilly on Wednesday, he said.
The historic 86-km-long Mughal road remained closed since November 6 due to accumulation of several feet of snowfall and slippery road conditions.
However, despite rain the national highway, connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was through for two-way Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) traffic while Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) will ply from Jammu to Srinagar.
Despite massive snow clearance operation from both sides of Pir-ki-Gali, the Mughal road, connecting Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, remained closed, a traffic police official told UNI on Wednesday.
The world famous ski resort of Gulmarg, about 55 km from here in north Kashmir district of Baramulla received fresh snowfall. However, the upper reaches, including Kongdori and Affarwat, the highest skiing point connected by Cable Car, experienced moderate to heavy snowfall since last night.
The upper reaches in entire north Kashmir also received moderate to heavy snowfall resulting in closure of dozens of roads leading to far flung and remote areas, including those near the Line of Control (LoC). Keran and Karnah roads which reopened only yesterday were again closed due to fresh snowfall on Wednesday.
About six inches of fresh snowfall was also experienced at Harpora and one to two feet between Dobjan and Pir-ki-Gali on historic Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir and Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region. The road is closed from November 6 due to snow.
Kapran and Sampthan and Anantnag-Kishtwar road also received snowfall.
Upper heights in the central Kashmir districts of Ganderbal and Badgam also received fresh snowfall.
Fog disrupts air traffic for 3rd straight day
Srinagar, Dec 9: No flights could operate from Srinagar airport for the third consecutive day due to poor visibility.
The Meteorological (Met) Department has warned that foggy conditions will continue for the next 48-hours.
“There will be a slight improvement in the foggy weather on Tuesday, and then the weather will improve from Wednesday,” said Sonam Lotus, Director, Met Department, Kashmir.
He said for the last ten days Kashmir has mostly seen dry weather with a slow wind speed, resulting in foggy conditions.
Lotus said there will be a significant improvement in the foggy conditions from Tuesday.
“Significant improvement (in visibility) is expected from Tuesday onwards,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
The valley, he said, will witness light rains on December 11.
“Moderate to heavy snowfall is predicted between the intervening night of 12 and 13 December,” said Lotus.
“Below freezing temperature, calm winds (1 to 2 km per hour), more than 75% humidity, and suspended dust particles in the atmosphere are the reasons for such dense fog,” he added.
Lotus said that similar foggy conditions occurred back in November months of 2015 and 2016.
The Met Department has predicated snowfall in Kashmir from December 12 and 13 due to a fresh western disturbance.
According to a government advisory, an active western disturbance is most likely to affect the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and adjoining areas from December to 10-14, 2019.
“Under the influence of this weather system, widespread moderate rain/snow is expected at a few places of Kashmir on December 10, thereafter increase in intensity and distribution will happen.”
The weather advisory says the system is likely to cause heavy rain/snow mainly in Pirpanjal range of Jammu division (from Baderwah to Banihal), upper reaches of Kashmir (Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Baramulla and Kupwara, and Drass subdivision of Ladakh Union Territory.
“This may lead to disruption of surface and air transport including Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Srinagar-Leh National highway (Zojilla pass), Leh-Manali Highway, Mughal road and Sadhana pass and there would be a further dip in temperature.”
There has been a significant drop in temperature due to prevailing cold wave conditions in Kashmir.
The night temperature in Srinagar was recorded at minus 2.6 degrees and minus 4.2 degrees in the ski resort Gulmarg.
87% fewer tourists visited Valley: Report
Srinagar, Dec 9: The number of domestic tourists who visited Kashmir from August to November this year fell 87% compared to the same period last year, The Times of India reported on Monday. The number was 32,411, as against 2.49 lakh during August-November 2018. The number of foreign tourists fell 82% during the four-month period – from 19,167 in 2018 to just 3,413 this year.
However, November was the best month since August, with 10,946 domestic and 1,140 foreign tourists visiting the Union Territory.
The drop in the number of tourists appears to be a consequence of the Centre’s decision to impose prohibitory orders after abrogating the special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The decision was taken on August 5. Prohibitory orders are gradually being lifted.
On October 10, the Jammu and Kashmir administration lifted its advisory against tourists in the Valley. Postpaid mobile services have resumed in the Valley, but internet connectivity remains blocked.
In June and July, Kashmir received 1.62 lakh and 1.49 lakh domestic tourists. This was around 27% higher than the figures for June and July 2018.
Parvez Baba, the owner of Hotel Samci Riviera in Srinagar’s Rajbagh, told The Times of India that he has only four rooms out of 24 occupied this week. “My hotel is just three years old and I can’t afford to lose any business that comes my way,” he said. “If I charge Rs 4,000 per room, what chance do I have of getting a guest?”
JK Govt announces winter vacations for schools from Dec 10
SRINAGAR, DECEMBER 09: Government today ordered winter vacation for all Government Educational Institutions and recognized private schools up to Higher Secondary level functioning in the Kashmir Division and winter zone areas of Jammu Division from December 10 to February 22, 2020.
The order was issued in view of foggy conditions and forecast of further dip in temperature along with rains and snowfall over next week.