Cold wave in North India continues with fresh snow, rains

The Srinagar-Jammu national highway, connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country, was closed for traffic on Friday.“The Srinagar-Jammu highway is closed for traffic due to heavy snowfall near Jawahar Tunnel and many other places along the route,” a spokesman of the Traffic Department said.

Landslides occurred at a few places along the 294-km arterial highway. The highway was earlier closed on Wednesday due to fresh snowfall and rains. Meanwhile, the plains of the Valley, including Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, received moderate snowfall overnight, while heavy snowfall was recorded in the higher reaches. Srinagar received 7 cm of snow and the mercury settled at a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius on Thursday night as compared to 0.6 degrees Celsius the previous night, a MeT Department official in Srinagar said.

Mercury in Qazigund — the gateway town to Kashmir Valley — settled at zero degrees Celsius as against 0.2 degrees Celsius the previous night and the town received 5 cm of snow. The tourist resort of Pahalgam, in south Kashmir, recorded a snowfall of 3 cm and the mercury there rose by over one degree to settle at minus 5.2 degrees Celsius as compared to minus 6.7 degrees Celsius Wednesday night.

The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 5.2 degrees Celsius as against the Thursday night’s minus 8.0 degrees Celsius. The resort recorded five feet of snow, the official said. The mercury in Kokernag, in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius last night, an increase of two degrees from the previous night’s minimum of minus 3.3 degrees Celsius. The town received 13 cm of snow, the official said. Kargil was the coldest place in the State as the mercury settled at a low of minus 15.0 degrees Celsius as compared to the previous night’s 16.4 degrees Celsius. The MeT Department has said there would be a decrease in precipitation from tomorrow.

Rains lash Punjab, Haryana

Light to moderate rains on Friday lashed various parts of Punjab and Haryana, even as minimum temperature rose by a few notches above normal. Union Territory of Chandigarh received rainfall of 2.6 mm with minimum settling at 11.6 deg Celsius, up by five notches above normal, the MeT Department said. Among other places in Haryana, Ambala recorded 6.2 mm of rainfall while minimum was 11 deg Celsius, up by three degrees. Hisar and Bhiwani had rainfall of 1.5 mm and 1 mm with minimum at 11.7 degree Celsius and 14 degree Celsius respectively. Narnaul had a low of 12.7 degree C, going up by seven notches above normal. In Punjab, Patiala recorded maximum rainfall as it received 9.8 mm of rain, though minimum remained 10 degree Celsius, up by three notches. With rainfall of 4 mm and 3 mm, Amritsar and Ludhiana recorded minimum temperature at 10 degree Celsius and 10.2 degree Celsius, respectively, up by upto five notches. The MeT Department in its forecast said rain may continue at several places in Punjab and Haryana in next 24 hours.

Himachal roads closed

Highways and roads in many parts of Himachal Pradesh were blocked after moderate to heavy snowfall since early Friday, officials said. The picturesque tourist resort Manali, Manikaran, known for a Sikh shrine, and Banjar area in Kullu district have been cut off after snow piled on roads, an official told IANS. Connectivity on the Kullu-Manali national highway was snapped at Kullu, some 40 km before Manali, which also experienced snow. Most of the internal roads in Kinnaur district are cut off due to snow, he said. Even traffic bound for towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kotkhai, Kharapathar and Chopal has been hampered. According to the weather office here, heavy snow and rain will continue till Saturday. Tourist destination Narkanda experienced snowfall while rain lashed Shimla, which recorded a low of 4.2 degrees Celsius.

Manali and nearby Solang ski slopes experienced more than two feet of snow. The minimum temperature in Manali was minus 1.4 degree Celsius, the weather office here said. Bhuntar in Kullu district saw 48.4 mm rain. The town of Kalpa in Kinnaur, around 250 km from here, experienced 15.2 cm of snow and recorded a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius. People have been advised to stay indoors in Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts and not to go through avalanche-prone areas. Keylong, headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti, saw more than one feet of snow. Rain lashed lower areas of the state such as Dharamsala, Palampur, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi, pulling down temperatures.