Fresh snowfall in the Valley, which started on Tuesday night, has thrown life out of gear in the region. Weathermen have said this spell is the heaviest one recorded in January in the last 10 years.
Air and road traffic has been affected, and University of Kashmir has postponed all examinations scheduled to be held today and tomorrow till further announcement.
The snowfall has brought relief from bone-chilling cold by raising the temperature from last night’s minus 1.7° Celsius to 0.2° Celsius. The night temperature in the summer capital had remained between minus three and four degrees last week.
While Srinagar received nearly 1-ft snow, areas close to the Pir Panjal mountain range lie buried under two to four feet of snow.
Night temperature in hill resorts Gulmarg and Pahalgam remained below the freezing point at minus 3.4° Celsius to minus 10° Celsius, respectively.
However, weathermen have predicted no change in the weather in the next 12 hours.
Srinagar’s meteorological department head Sonam Lotus said this was the heaviest snowfall in the last 10 years in January, and there was a similar forecast for the next 12 hours.
“People living in mountainous areas have been asked to be careful as there is a threat of avalanches and snow-slides,” Lotus said.
In Srinagar, business establishments, shops and offices have been shut as people preferred to stay indoors.
Residents complained of complete breakdown of power supply and essential services.
The Srinagar-Jammu highway has been closed for traffic, and heavy snow has forced cancellation of flights to and from Srinagar.
Though snow-clearing machines were seen plying on major roads in Srinagar early in the morning, most roads in the Valley remained blocked.
Officials in many parts of the city were quoted as saying that restoration of essential services was possible “only after snow stops”.
“The main roads have been cleared in some areas, but the connecting roads remain unusable. I work in a hospital and had to walk almost two km in heavy snowfall,” said Shafiqa Akhtar, from old city’s Rainawari area.