One way traffic resumes on NH, severe cold wave in J&K
STATE TIMES NEWS Srinagar: Flight operations at the Srinagar airport remained suspended for the third consecutive day on Monday as all flights to and from the Kashmir Valley were cancelled due to poor visibility caused by heavy fog, officials said. “All flights at Srinagar airport were cancelled on Monday and no flight operations took place for the third straight day,” an official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said. He said the visibility at the airport was very poor due to heavy fog and the conditions were not suitable for flight operations. “The visibility at the airport has been hovering around 100 to 500 metres only while the required visibility (for flights to function) is 1,000 to 1,200 metres. So, the airline has decided to cancel all 26 flights for the day,” the official said. Flight operations have been severely affected at the Srinagar airport for the past four days. On Friday, several flights were cancelled while no flight operations took place on Saturday and Sunday. A thick layer of fog engulfed most parts of the Valley on Monday affecting visibility and causing problems to people especially to the motorists. In the meantime, the one-way civilian traffic resumed on the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, after a day-long closure to complete some repair work and smooth passage of security convoys, traffic department officials said.
“Only Srinagar-bound traffic was allowed to move on the highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, this morning with 1 pm as cut off timing,” the officials said.
They said the decision to restrict the traffic to one-way was taken in view of the weather advisory issued by the Meteorological department, predicting widespread moderate rain or snow from Tuesday night to December 14 forenoon.
The traffic on the highway is usually restricted to one-way during the winter months, plying alternatively from the twin capitals of Srinagar and Jammu, to allow smooth passage of vehicles in view of the ongoing four-laning project.
The highway was closed for civilian traffic on Sunday to allow road maintenance agencies to carry out necessary repair work on the road damaged by recent landslides in Ramban sector and also to allow smooth passage of security convoys from both sides.
Meanwhile, the mercury climbed several notches across Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh due to overcast conditions even as the region braces for a fresh spell of snow and rainfall in the next couple of days, a meteorological department official said.
However, severe cold wave continues in the two Union territories with the minimum temperature continuing to hover several degrees below the season’s average.
“An active western disturbance is most likely to affect the UTs of J and K and Ladakh from Tuesday night to December 14 forenoon. Under the influence of this weather system, widespread moderate rain or snow is expected in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions,” the official said quoting an advisory issued by the department.
He said light rain or snow would commence at a few places in Kashmir on Tuesday night and thereafter increase in intensity and distribution.
“The main activity of this system will be moderate to heavy rain or snow, most likely during December 12 and 13 and gradual decrease thereafter,” the official said.
The system is likely to cause heavy rain or snow mainly in the Pirpanjal range of the Jammu division (from Bhaderwah to Banihal), upper reaches of Kashmir (Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Baramulla and Kupwara) and the Drass sub-division of Ladakh and likely to impact the surface and air transportation, he added.
Drass, the second coldest inhabited place in the world, witnessed an increase of over five notches in the night temperature, which settled at minus 21.4 degrees Celsius, while Leh was freezing at a low of minus 14.9 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s minus 16.0 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Srinagar, which was reeling under cold wave over the past week, recorded a low of minus 2.9 degrees Celsius — 2.3 degrees below the season’s average, bringing some sort of relief to the people.
Srinagar had recorded the coldest night of the season on Sunday with a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius, resulting in the freezing of water bodies including the fringes of the famous Dal Lake besides the water taps in residential areas.
The winter capital, Jammu, also marked an improvement in the night temperature, which settled at 8.9 degrees Celsius, 1.1 degrees below the normal during this time of the season, the official said.
This year, the wintry conditions engulfed the region early following moderate to heavy snowfall, first of the season, on November 7.
Kupwara town in north Kashmir was the coldest recorded place in the valley with a low of minus 4.3 degrees Celsius despite marking an improvement of over one degree, the official said.
The minimum temperature in the famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir was minus 4.2 degrees Celsius, while it was minus 3.7 degrees Celsius in Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir, he said.
Katra, which serves as the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district of the Jammu region, recorded a low of 8.4 degrees Celsius, the official said, adding the Bhadarwah township of Doda district was, however, the coldest recorded place in the region with a minimum temperature of 1.8 degrees Celsius.
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