Heavy snowfall between Qazigund and Banihal led to closure of traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway on Wednesday morning and once the road is cleared of snow, stranded vehicles will be allowed to move first, superintendent police traffic (rural) Muzaffer Ahmad Shah told Greater Kashmir.
During the intervening night, MeT officials said that snowfall occurred at some higher reaches such as Apharwat, Sadhna and Banihal.
Several areas of southern Kashmir such as DH Pora Shopian, Kokernag, Larnoo, Khreeti, Daksum Dessu, Mati Gavran, Dandipora, Vailoo, Gadole, Qazigund Lowermunda received fresh snow fall. Snowfall was also received in upper areas of Dooru-Kapran, Pahalgam and Verinag areas of Anantnag district.
Snowfall at Sinthan top and Margan led to closure of Kokernag-Sinthan-Kishtiwar road and Kokernag-Margan-Marwa road.
Higher reaches of the entire Chenab Valley and surrounding villages of Bhadarwah received heavy snowfall, while moderate snow was recorded in Kishtawar, Gandoh and Bhadarwah towns since early morning on Wednesday, dipping mercury to the lowest level of the season so far and throwing normal life out of gear in this mountainous area of the state.
The surroundings of Bhadarwah Valley, which include Ashapati, Seoj Dhar, Kailash Kund,Shankhoja, Dugga, Kansar, Subar Dhar,Thuba, Dhamunda, Sharekhi, Bumlakhi, Mathola, Chinchora, Dhara, Hanga, and Jai witnessed 1.5 to 3 feet of snow, while Bhadarwah, Kishtwar and Gandoh towns recorded 3, 2 and 4 inches simultaneously.
The higher reaches of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Banihal and Gandoh including Padder, Marwah, Sinthan top, Mughal Maidan, Dessa, Gurmal, Siraj, Tanta, Gandri,Kabbi, Neel Top, Mahu, Mangat, Kharri , Gool and other higher reaches also received moderate to heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile, Trikuta hills housing the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi received the season’s first snowfall.
“The Bhawan, Sanji Chhat, Barion Temple received first snowfall of the season,” said Simrandeep Singh, chief executive officer Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.
He said that with fresh snowfall at Bhawan and start of Bhawan-Bharion Ghati Cable Car, the number of pilgrims will increase and might touch a new record. He expected it to cross 85 lakhs.
Another official said pilgrims are smoothly performing the pilgrimage amid rains. Despite snowfall, thousands of pilgrims are on their way to the shrine.
A Met official said there can be light snow and rain at scattered places in the state during the next 24 hours, and minimum temperatures are likely to drop in the coming days in Kashmir and Ladakh. Cloud cover in the past three days had led to an increase in temperatures.
Minimum temperatures in Kargil, Leh, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Srinagar on Wednesday were minus 9.3 degrees Celsius, minus 9.1, minus 8, minus 5 and 0.2 degrees respectively.
Jammu city recorded 9.6 degrees Celsius, Katra 8.2, Batote 0, Banihal 1.6 and Bhaderwah 0.3 as night’s lowest temperatures.
(Reporting by Tahir Nadeem Khan Yusafzai from Bhadarwah and Yogesh Sagotra from Jammu)
-GK WEB DESK-