Cold wave gripped Kashmir on Thursday, a day after fresh snowfall was received in the plains and upper reaches of the Valley, once again forcing the Srinagar- Jammu National Highway to close for traffic.
The traffic on the 300-km national highway, the only all-weather surface link of the Valley to the outside world, was stopped on Wednesday afternoon after fresh snowfall made it difficult to ply.
According to the traffic department, the traffic on the highway was disallowed after one and a half feet fresh snow accumulated near Banihal and Patnitop. It has asked passengers not to venture on the highway till the snow is cleared.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has started lifting snow from the highway, which is critical to keep the supply of essentials on to the Valley.
Kashmir-based railway service also remained halted on Thursday in the backdrop of the snowfall. However, several Srinagar-bound flights landed at the airport after the snow was lifted from the runway.
Though there was no fresh snowfall in the plains during the day, there were reports of more snowfall in the upper reaches and tourist destinations of Gulmarg and Pahalgam.
The meteorological department forecast improvement of weather from tomorrow. "There will be light rain or snow in isolated places over the state," said the Met department.
Met director Sonum Lotus said the strong phase of the fresh snow spell is over. "There will be improvement in weather from Friday afternoon," he said.
The icy winds, however, continued in Srinagar and other districts. The intensity of the cold weather can be gauged from the fact that icicles hanging from roof-tops and buildings remained intact for most part of the day.
Srinagar's maximum temperature hovered around one degree Celsius. The night temperature continued to stay below freezing point at -1.9° Celsius.
Kashmir witnessed three spells of snowfall this winter, forcing closure of roads, highways and disrupting air traffic.
One killed in road accident
Srinagar: A vehicle carrying four passengers skidded off the road at Srinagar's Rainawari area and fell into the Dal lake.
The accident occurred on Thursday evening when a Santro fell off the road into the water. One person was killed while three others were rescued from the car.