ZT News Network

Srinagar, Jan 4: A major snowfall is lashing Jammu & Kashmir since Friday afternoon, causing a paradoxical situation of hope and misery.

On December 31st, 2018, Ziraat Times had issued a specific forecast which said that following the Wednesday precipitation, while precipitation-bearing clouds look to recede from most parts of J&K on Thursday, a much larger cloud cover is likely to engulf Jammu & Kashmir and its north-western region starting Friday, causing snowfall across Kashmir valley plains, Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Doda, Ramban, Reasi and Udhampur mountains and most of the Ladakh region. 

The advisory issued had warned that “heavy snowfall is likely across Pirpanjal and the entire Upper and Middle Himalayas, with significant drop in daytime temperates.”

Finally, the snowfall started on Friday  afternoon in both plains and hilly areas of Kashmir valley. Snowfall is also happening in parts of Ladakh and hilly districts of Jammu region.

This January snowfall has renewed hopes about rejuvenation of glaciers in Jammu & Kashmir mountains, critical for summer-time irrigation, drinking water and hydropower generation needs.

In areas hit by snowfall early November, there are fears about further loss to damaged apple trees.

The Friday snowfall has led to power outages in most of Kashmir’s rural areas. Some urban areas are also reporting their power is cut off. 

This spell of snowfall also created frustrating and risky traffic jams on most of the roads across Kashmir. There are reports of at least seven vehicular accidents, resulting in injuries to at least 9 people. Traffic Police and officials of Police Department were busy clearing stranded vehicles on Srinagar-Baramulla roads. While some of the roads were being cleared of the snow, most of the roads were snowbound till this report was being filed Friday night.

Vehicular traffic on the Srinagar Jammu Highway was suspended after heavy snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel and other areas along the Banihal Pass. 

The traffic was suspended due to bad weather conditions and slippery conditions of the road, a Traffic Police official said.

“Any person wishing to travel on the road should first consult the traffic police and should not take on journey without official clearance,” the official added.

Air traffic from Srinagar Airport also cancelled due to poor visibility on Friday afternoon.

“The air traffic remained suspended in the afternoon because of poor visibility due to dense fog, but flight operations took place in the morning,” an airport official said.

The officials said that the air traffic will be resumed on January 5, Saturday, subject to better weather conditions and better visibility.     

Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan issued an avalanche warning for nine districts of Kashmir division in view of the inclement weather and snowfall.

The warning has been issued for the avalanche-prone areas in district Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh.

As per a handout, the Divisional Commissioner has asked the Deputy Commissioners of all these districts to advise the people living in avalanche prone areas not to venture out during the snowfall. Besides, they have been directed to take all the precautionary measures and to keep the SDRF, Police and Para-medical staff with ambulances in readiness to deal with any untoward incident.

(With inputs from VMS)