The heavy snowfall at Rohtang Pass in Kullu district and tribal district Lahaul-Spiti cut off the district from the rest of the world. Also, snowfall in most parts of Kashmir and rains in the city continued for the second day on Friday.
As the minimum temperature stayed around freezing point in most of the Valley, snowfall was witnessed in most of the areas, including tourist resorts of Gulmarg in north Kashmir and Pahalgam in the south Kashmir.
Srinagar city also witnessed snowfall briefly during the night, but it was followed by rains, which did not allow the accumulation of the white flakes.
While Rohtang Pass received five feet snow, Keylong, the district headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti, got one feet snow, halting traffic completely and disrupting power supply. Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner (DC) Hans Raj Chauhan issued a warning, urging people against approaching avalanche-prone areas in the district for the next few days.
“As the snowfall started on Thursday midnight, electricity supply snapped and was only restored on Friday evening,” apprised Shamsher Singh a local resident of Lahaul Spiti.
Traffic restricted beyond Manali
In Kullu district, upper reaches, such as Manali, Solang, Gulaba and Marhi received heavy snowfall, bringing cheer to hoteliers, who are expecting good business in the coming days. However, the district administration is taking strict measures to avoid any toward incident, and has restricted vehicular movement towards the high-altitude areas.
Jammu-Srinagar highway partially restored
After remaining shut for nearly eight hours, the 294 Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was re-opened for traffic late on Friday afternoon.
The traffic on the highway, the only all-weather link between Kashmir and rest of the country, was closed at 8.30 am due to slippery road conditions around Jawahar tunnel in Anantnag district. “The Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed for vehicular traffic due to snowfall which has rendered the road unsafe due to slippery road condition,” a police official said.
However, the road was only opened to clear the stranded vehicles struck at various locations on the highway.
Several landslides also occurred at Udhampur, Patnitop, Ramban and Ramsoo.
SSP national highway, Sanjay Kotwal, said, “Landslides and snowfall forced us to close the national highway in the early hours.” “However we are only allowing movement of stranded vehicles on the highway. No fresh movement of vehicles either Jammu or Srinagar was allowed on Friday,” he added.
“Around 2,000 vehicles were stranded near Udhampur and Qazigund on other side of tunnel in the Valley. We are hoping to clear all the vehicles by evening. However, the slippery conditions have again started developing near the tunnel.”
A MeT department official said Srinagar city recorded a mix of rain and snow equivalent to 19.8 mm of rainfall over the past 24 hours till 8.30 am. Qazigund, the gateway town to the Valley in its south, received the highest amount of precipitation of 48.2 mm in the corresponding period.
Gulmarg skiing resort, where tourist visit in large numbers during winter, recorded snowfall equivalent to 43.4-mm of rainfall. It was also the coldest place in Kashmir division as mercury plunged by four degrees last night to settle for a minimum of minus 7 degrees Celsius.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, state’s MeT department director Sonam Lotus said, “From Saturday onwards more snowfall and rain is expected in the state for the entire week.”
(with PTI inputs)