Kashmir cut off as snow shuts highway

Kashmir cut off as snow shuts highway

Pigeons fly after snowfall at the Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Friday. Tribune Photo: Amin War

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 13

Fresh spell of snowfall across Kashmir on Friday snapped road connectivity between the Valley and rest of the country while the flight operations at the only civilian airport continued to remain suspended for the seventh day.

The snowfall was received across the Kashmir valley and is likely to continue till Saturday evening, an official of the Meteorological Centre here said. In Srinagar, the snowfall began overnight and nearly half a foot of snow had accumulated in the morning.

The official said the snowfall of varying intensity was received across Kashmir, including the meadow resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam, and was expected to continue intermittently for at least next 24 hours till Saturday evening.

The Kashmir valley has remained in the grip of severe cold during the past week as night temperatures across the region have plummeted several degrees below the freezing point.

The fresh snowfall, which is the fifth spell of precipitation since the first week of November, has completely cut off connectivity between the Kashmir valley and rest of the country.

An official of the Traffic Department said the vehicular traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway was suspended as the mountainous stretches of the highway were blocked by several feet of snow.

“Two to three feet of snow has accumulated at the Jawahar Tunnel and several other places due to which traffic has been suspended on the highway,” the official said.

The suspension of traffic on the 300-km crucial highway has completely blocked connectivity with the Kashmir valley as the air traffic was already disrupted due to foggy conditions over the past week.

Two other roads leading out of the Kashmir valley — Srinagar-Leh highway in the north and the Mughal road in the south — are already shut for traffic as previous snowfalls had blocked its high-altitude passes.

A senior official at the Srinagar international airport said the flight operations remained suspended “due to snow and low visibility”. The 28 flights arriving at and departing from the Srinagar airport have faced cancellation for the last seven days.

The suspension of air traffic combined with the suspension of the highway traffic is not rare in the Kashmir valley and has regularly happened during the past winters due to inclement weather conditions that include snowstorms and poor visibility.

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