Srinagar: The summer capital, Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir valley received fresh snowfall on Wednesday even as the night temperature witnessed major improvement and settled above normal.
However, the maximum temperature settled several degrees below normal due to snowfall, coupled with icy cold winds in the valley, where light to moderate snow is predicted during the next 24 hours.
A Met department spokesperson told UNI a fresh Western Disturbance (WD), which originated from the Arabian Sea and approached the region through Afghanistan and Pakistan, is active in the region. “Under the influence of this WD, light to moderate snow would occur at most places in the valley during the next 24 hours,” he said, adding the weather is expected to improve from Friday onwards.
Meanwhile, air traffic resumed at Srinagar International Airport after two flights were cancelled and others delayed in the morning due to fresh light snowfall and poor visibility. However, Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was through for traffic despite snowfall.
Tree and roof tops, electric poles and transmission wire besides open fields and roads had turned white as people woke up in Srinagar, which received heavy snowfall so far this winter. However, there was major improvement in the minimum temperature, which remained below normal during the past over several weeks.
The night temperature in the city improved over 4 degrees from Tuesday due to overcast conditions and settled at minus 0.4 degree, which is slightly above normal. The parts of the world famous Dal Lake and other water bodies, which were frozen due to sub zero temperature, have also partially melted following surge in the night temperature due to cloudy sky. People remained inside their houses enjoying snowfall outside. Tourists and locals were also out in the Dal Lake area taking photographs and playing with snow since early Wednesday morning.
Much to the delight of the tourists, Gulmarg, about 55 km from here in north Kashmir, received fresh snowfall since early this morning. Kongdori and Apharwat, the highest point of the cable car project in Gulmarg, also received moderate snowfall. “Despite chilly weather conditions and fresh snowfall, the tourists are out on ski slopes, which are already covered under several feet of snow, enjoying different activities,” a hotelier told UNI over the phone.
The mercury at Gulmarg, which is known for its ski slopes and quality of snow, improved over 2 degrees from Tuesday and settled at minus 5.2 degree, about 2 degree above normal.
World famous health resort of Pahalgam, about 100 km from here in south Kashmir, also received fresh snowfall since early hours on Wednesday, resulting in a dip in the day temperature. But, the night temperature at the health resort improved about 6 degrees from Tuesday and settled at minus 3.9 degree, which is about 2 degrees above normal.
The upper reaches in Pahalgam, including Chandanwari, received light to moderate snowfall. Amarnath cave shine and its periphery, besides Sheshnag, Mahagung, Pisso top and Panjterni, also received moderate to heavy snowfall.
Another tourist resort of Kokernag, where the night temperature improved about 4 degrees from Tuesday and settled at minus 4.5 degree, received also received fresh snowfall.
There was a fresh snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah, Banihal and Qazigund, gateway of Kashmir, though Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained through for one-way traffic.
Other parts of the valley also received fresh light to moderate snowfall since early this morning. Razdan pass, connecting Gurez, Neeru and dozens of other areas near LoC with district headquarters Bandipora, received several inches of fresh snowfall overnight. Gurez, which is surrounded with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir from three sides, remained cutoff from rest of the valley since January 1.
Air traffic affected, 19 flights cancelled
Air traffic was affected at Srinagar International airport, where 19 incoming and outgoing flights were on Wednesday cancelled due to fresh snowfall and poor visibility.
‘Four early morning incoming and outgoing flights were on Wednesday cancelled due to fresh snowfall and poor visibility at Srinagar airport,’ officials said.
They said air traffic was resumed after considerable improvement in the visibility and clearance of snow on the runway in the afternoon. However, they said the air traffic was again disrupted due to fresh snowfall and poor visibility.
They said seven incoming flight from Delhi, Jammu and Mumbai were cancelled at Srinagar airport, which is the only airport in the valley. ‘As many as 12 outgoing to other cities in the country were also cancelled due to poor visibility,’ they said.
They said other flights also experienced delay of several hours following bad weather.
Meanwhile, the Mechanical Engineering Department (MED), Srinagar, had pressed into service machines to clear snow on city roads, particularly on Airport road.
This is the third time air traffic at Srinagar Airport was suspended since first week of January this year due to snowfall and poor visibility.
This had however, led to steep increase in airfare. This issue was also raised with the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) and other central leaders.