Srinagar: As snow blanketed entire Kashmir, Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed and air traffic disrupted while as day temperatures plummeted across the Valley on Friday.
Official sources told GNS that the strategic highway was closed for traffic on at around 1400 hours due to fresh snowfall around the Jawahar Tunnel, and several other places along the thoroughfare, the only road connectivity of Kashmir with the outside world.
“The traffic movement was suspended as a precautionary measure due to slippery road condition following fresh snowfall,” the official said, adding, maximum traffic allowed towards Jammu from the Valley had crossed the Jawahar Tunnel before its closure. He said fresh traffic will be allowed only after an improvement in the weather.
Meanwhile, air traffic was disrupted at Srinagar airport after 1;30 hours due to poor visibility following the snowfall.
Reports said that many flights were suspended even as travel operation functioned normally in the morning, they said
Meanwhile, the mercury dipped to 3.7 degree Celsius in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, a meteorological department official said. He said night temperature plunged to minus 3.2 degree Celsius in the capital last night.
The official said Qazigund the gateway town to the Valley recorded a maximum of 3.8 degrees Celsius (below 4 degrees from normal) and low of minus 0.8 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag registered a low of minus 1.0 and maximum of 3.2 degrees Celsius.
The night temperature in Pahalgam, also in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius while it had a maximum of 0.5 degrees Celsius, the official said.
The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded the minimum temperature of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius and was the coldest place in the Valley as day temperature dropped to minus 4 degrees Celsius, he said.
Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius while it had a maximum of 3.2 degrees Celsius, he said.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
‘Chillai-Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir.
The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
Regarding the forecast, the weatherman said that there was the possibility of “moderate rain and snow at widespread places with isolated heavy falls very likely over the state.”