Torrential rains, gusty winds and snowfall on Monday wreaked havoc in several parts in Kashmir and left one BSF porter dead and three security forces personnel injured at a forward post in Gurez.
The rain, which started on Sunday evening, triggered avalanches in several parts of the valley and resulted in shooting stones on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, leading to its closure for traffic.
"An avalanche struck at a forward post at Kabul Gali, Gurez (in north-east of Srinagar) on the Gurez-Mushkoo-Drass side. A porter died and four others, including three paramilitary BSF men, were injured," Amir Ali, officer on special duty with Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, told the Hindustan Times.
An Air Force plane failed to make a sortie to the spot to airlift the injured. "But the injured are being treated at Kabul Gali only. They could not be airlifted due to adverse weather," said Ali.
Temperature in Kashmir valley
Srinagar: 1.8 degree Celsius
Gulmarg: minus 1.8 degree Celsius
Pahalgam: minus 2.10 degree Celsius
Kargil: minus 2.7 degree Celsius
Gurez is surrounded by Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's mountains on three sides and the highway connecting it with Srinagar remains closed in winters.
The victim of the avalanche was identified as Jamal Lone (45), a resident of Gujran, Gurez, more than 1gg km away from Srinagar. This has taken the death toll of those killed in avalanches to sic. On Sunday, five people were killed and five injured in rockslides triggered by snowfall at village Garkone in Batalik sector of Kargil district.
There was fresh snowfall in upper reaches in the valley, while the plains recorded both torrential rains and snow.
In its fresh warning, the government said a high danger avalanche warning existed in north Kashmir's Dhudhi, Machil and SM Hill areas. A medium danger avalanche warning stands in several upper reaches in north and north-east of Kashmir valley, including tourists spots like Khilanmarg and higher reaches of Gulmarg.
"People in these areas are advised to avoid movement during snowfall and avoid steep slopes. People are advised not to venture in avalanche prone areas," said Ali.
Rain also closed 300 km Srinagar-Jammu national highway, only road way connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country, for traffic.
Rain recorded in Kashmir valley
Qazigund: 102 mm (highest).
Srinagar: 10.7 mm
Kupwara: 64.4 mm
"The highway was closed after reports of shooting stones at several places. We are clearing the stretches and might throw it open for the traffic in the evening," DIG south Kashmir H.K Lohai told the HT.
More than 200 vehicles are stranded on the highway. "We returned passenger vehicles but goods trucks have parked on the highway only," said Lohai.
Srinagar-based MeT official predicted "widespread rain and snow in the Valley and the Ladakh region in the next 48 hours due to huge depression caused by western disturbances".
Gusty winds, on throughout the Sunday night, uprooted many trees in several orchards in north and south Kashmir. "The gusty winds also took away tin roofs of houses in several areas," said an official.
There was a major power breakdown in downtown Srinagar after gusty winds caused damaged the wires supplying the electricity to Srinagar city. At several places lines were snapped because of fallen trees bringing down the wires.