Major parts of Kashmir received fresh snowfall on Friday prompting the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway (NH) and impacting flight operations to and from the Valley, officials said.
Snowfall was recorded in tourist towns of Pahalgam and Gulmarg, and also in Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama, Budgam, and the upper areas of Kupwara, Ganderbal and Srinagar.
Snowfall and shooting stones between Ramban and Banihal on both sides of the all-weather Srinagar-Jammu national highway caused traffic to stop, the officials said. This road connects Kashmir with the rest of the nation.
In addition, the officials added that snowfall and poor visibility had a negative impact on flight operations at the Srinagar airport.
Although minimum temperatures increased in Kashmir, they remained below freezing throughout the Valley. On Thursday night, Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of minus 0.1 degrees Celsius, up from minus 1.4 degrees Celsius the previous evening. The Valley’s entrance, Qazigund, recorded a low of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature in Kupwara was minus 1.5 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 1.4 degrees Celsius. Pahalgam, in the Anantnag district, which serves as the starting point for the yearly Amarnath Yatra, recorded a temperature of minus 2.9 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg in the Baramulla district experienced a minimum temperature of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius.
Due to disturbances in the west, the meteorological service had predicted rainy weather in Jammu and Kashmir from January 19 to 25. It stated that on Friday and Saturday, there was a probability of mild to moderate rain or snow in several areas of Jammu & Kashmir.
The intensity of precipitation was forecast to be much higher from January 23 to 25, with the chance of moderate snowfall in Kashmir’s plains, moderate to heavy snowfall across the middle and higher levels, and rain in Jammu.
Kashmir is currently experiencing “Chillai Kalan,” a 40-day period of extreme weather during which the likelihood of snowfall is highest. December 21 and January 30 are the start and end dates for Chillai Kalan. After that, a 20-day “Chillai Khurd” and a 10-day “Chillai Bachha” follow, extending the cold wave.