Srinagar-Jammu highway reopens with snowfall, rains decrease for now, few vehicles circulate
The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed to traffic after recent snowfall and rain in parts of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday morning. Later that day, however, the road was reopened to traffic after the snowfall stopped, according to authorities.
Traffic officials said the traffic movement stopped Monday morning, but some vehicles were circulating after noon. Authorities had said on Sunday that weather permitting, small vehicles would be allowed to navigate from Jammu to Srinagar.
“Starting at 9 am, the road was closed because the areas around the tunnel and Banihal received snowfall,” said an official from the traffic control room.
The Jawahar and Banihal tunnel fall to the south of Kashmir and connect it to the Jammu division, which further connects the region with the rest of the country.
The Mughal Highway in southern Kashmir and the Leh-Kargil Highway are already blocked due to heavy snowfall.
Light snowfall and rain continued through the night and early Monday in many parts of the northern valley for the third day in a row, as the meteorological office has forecast a slight improvement from Monday afternoon.
Precipitation in the region followed a western disturbance, with winds from the Mediterranean hitting Jammu and Kashmir on Friday after months of dry weather.
Residents of northern Kashmir and the capital Srinagar said the rains continued overnight on the plains, while light snowfalls on the higher reaches.
The morning update from the Srinagar meteorological center said the depth of snow at the Gulmarg ski resort in northern Kashmir is 19 cm, while at Banihal south of the valley in the Jammu division is 1.5 cm.
“In the northern district of Kupwara, there is an accumulation of snow of 2 to 3.5 feet in the three high-altitude passes towards the border areas of Karnah, Keran and Machil. All three roads are closed and machinery will be deployed as soon as the weather improves, ”MeT Deputy Director Mukhtar Ahmad said, citing the Kupwara administration.
Minimum (nighttime) temperatures in the Kashmir Valley were the lowest in Gulmarg at minus 3 degrees Celsius, while in Kupwara it was minus 0.2. The capital Srinagar recorded a low of 2.8 degrees Celsius overnight, while on Sunday it was 7.7 degrees.
Ahmad said the weather is expected to improve from Monday. “The sun will also rise on Monday afternoon. There is a prediction of another rain wave on November 18, ”he said.
Unlike the monsoon in the rest of the country, Kashmir owes its rainfall mainly to the winds blowing from the Mediterranean Sea, which is locally known as ‘Western Riot’.
UT has witnessed unusually dry weather this year causing huge problems in the availability of water for irrigation and drinking.
On November 4, there was very light snowfall in the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, but there was no precipitation on the plains.
The summer this year was abnormally dry.
“The year saw abnormally dry weather in Jammu and Kashmir. The precipitation due to the western unrest was almost nil, while the precipitation due to the monsoon from July 1 to October 1 was 35 percent less than normal, ”said Mohammad Hussain.