Snow, Rains Disrupt Life In Kashmir Valley


(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- Several areas in the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir received fresh snowfall while the plains were lashed by rain on Saturday, officials said.

During the past 24 hours, there has been moderate rain or snow in most parts of the Valley with heavy snow or rainfall over a few places, they said.

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The officials said the famous ski-resort town of Gulmarg and tourist resort towns Sonamarg and Doodhpathri received moderate to heavy snow.

Gurez, Kupwara, Baltal and some other towns in the higher reaches also received fresh snow, they added.

A few places - particularly over the higher reaches of north Kashmir, central and south Kashmir and the Pirpanjal range of Jammu division - may experience heavy to very heavy snow, the Met office said.

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It said the plains of Kashmir may receive moderate rain or snow while the plains of Jammu are likely to receive moderate rain with the possibility of heavy rain over the Ramban, Udhampur and the Reasi districts.

A few places may experience thunder/lightning/hailstorm, accompanied by gusty winds.

The inclement weather has resulted in shooting stones at various places along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, leading to its closure for traffic.

National Highway Closed

Traffic was suspended on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway early on Saturday after heavy rainfall triggered multiple landslides and shooting stones in the Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

The 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was blocked at over half a dozen places between Nashri and Banihal, they said.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have mobilised men and machines to clear the highway for one-way traffic, officials said.

Traffic on the highway has been restricted to one-way since February 26 and was being used alternatively from Jammu and Srinagar after heavy rains and snowfall damaged the arterial road at several places last week.

According to the meteorological department, Banihal recorded the highest 74.4 mm of rainfall in the past 24 hours, ending around 8.30 am on Saturday.

It said snowfall in high-altitude areas and rains in the plains will continue at most places in the Union territory. The weather is likely to improve gradually on Saturday night.

Structures Damaged In South Kashmir

A strong windstorm swept south Kashmir, damaging several structures in the Verinag area of Anantnag district, the officials said.

They said strong winds damaged the rooftops of houses and shops in Nowgam village.

Signboards of several shops were also blown away but there have been no reports of any loss of life or injury.

2 Dead, 6 Injured

Two people were killed and six others injured in separate incidents as incessant rains pounded several parts of Jammu region for the second day on Saturday, officials said.

Over three dozen houses and other structures suffered damages due to gusty winds in the province, they said Devi, a resident of Batmas-Changa village of Bhalesa, died and her brother injured when the ceiling of their house collapsed due to a windstorm in Doda district, they said. At least 10 other houses suffered damages in Gandoh tehsil of Doda district, and 15 more houses and other structures were damaged by windstorm in Trigam, Palmar, Mughal Maidan and adjoining areas in nearby Kishtwar district, officials said.

A fuel tanker driver was killed when he lost control and crashed his vehicle into a hillside amid heavy rain in Moud Passi in Udhampur district, they said people were injured when a boulder from a hillock hit a passenger bus at Manoor Gala in Rajouri district, officials said.
They said the bus was on its way from Mandir Gala to Rajouri and the injured passengers were rushed to a hospital.
Officials said strong winds also damaged rooftops of three school buildings and a public health centre in Trigam, Kudji, Tanka and Mangit in Khari tehsil, while rooftops of over a dozen houses were damaged in Sub-division Banihal, Ramsoo and Gool.
A religious school was also damaged when a tree fell on its building in the Batote area of the district, they said.
Four residential houses were partially damaged due to heavy rains in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday morning.
Due to heavy rains, three residential houses were partially damaged in Mughalmaidan, while one house was also damaged in the Pathimhall area of Kishtwar district.
They however said that no loss of life or any other injury was reported in the incident.
A police officer said that soon after information was received about the incident, a team immediately rushed to the spot and were accessing the losses. The officer further added that all the people residing in the houses are being shifted to safer places amid this rainy weather.
Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chairman and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed concern over the widespread damage across several hamlets due to the inclement weather.
Azad urged the Lt Governor-led administration to assess the damage and pay adequate compensation to victims.
A snowfall up to two to three feet was reported in high altitude areas including Pir Ki Gali in Poonch, Sinthan top in Kishtwar, Chatergala in Doda district over the past 24 hours, officials said.
A hail storm also hit various parts of Jammu during the day.

Avalanche Warning

Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority on Saturday issued a medium-danger level avalanche warning for multiple districts in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Avalanche with Medium Danger Level is likely to occur above 2200 metres over Doda, Kishtwar, Poonch, Ramban, Resai, Anantnag and Kulgam districts
in next 24 hours,”
reads an advisory.

Further avalanche with higher danger level is likely to occur above 2200 metres over Kupwara, Ganderbal, Bandipora and Baramulla districts in the next 24 hours.

“People living in these areas are advised to take precautions and avoid venturing in the avalanche prone areas till further orders,”
the advisory reads.

In case of any help, the authority can be reached at 112. (with PTI inputs)

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