STATE TIMES NEWSSrinagar: The air traffic was badly affected in the Kashmir Valley on Saturday as dense fog forced cancellation of all flights to and fro Srinagar airport, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded, officials said. A total of 27 flights were scheduled for the day including a couple of those for armed personnel, the officials said. “All the scheduled flights were cancelled due to poor visibility at the airport,” an official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said. He said the visibility at the airport was around 600 metres only this morning but since there was no improvement in the situation, the air traffic was suspended for the day. The cancellation of the flights left hundreds of passengers stranded, the officials said. The city experienced the coldest night of the season so far recording a low of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius, an official of the Meteorological Department here said. He said the heavy fog affected the visibility, causing problems to the people, especially motorists. The MeT official said the valley is undergoing intense cold conditions as the mercury dipped several notches below the normal for this part of the season. Meanwhile, the night temperature continued to trend downward in Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh as Drass remained the coldest place in the region recording minus 25.4 degrees Celsius, a Meteorological Department official said on Saturday. Srinagar experienced its coldest night in the season so far with the mercury falling 0.6 degree Celsius to settle at a low of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius, three notches below the normal. The MeT official said the night temperature is likely to improve in the coming days due to a Western Disturbance which is likely to hit the two Union Territories on Wednesday, bringing another spell of snow and rains.
He said Drass in Kargil district of Ladakh was the coldest recorded place in the region with a night temperature of minus 25.4 degrees Celsius against the previous night’s 24.3 degrees Celsius.
Leh town, also in Ladakh, was reeling at a minimum of 15.9 degrees Celsius, the official added.
Foggy conditions engulfed most parts of Kashmir, including Srinagar, as the Sun remained hidden behind the clouds in the morning, the official said.
He said the minimum temperature in Jammu and Kashmir’s winter capital Jammu marked a slight dip and settled at 8.5 degrees Celsius, two notches below season’s average.
Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir was the coldest recorded place in the valley with a low of minus 5.9 degrees Celsius followed by the famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir at minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, the official said.
Katra, which serves as the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district of Jammu region, recorded a low of 8.7 degrees Celsius, the official said, adding Bhadarwah township of Doda district was, however, the coldest recorded place in the region with a minimum of 1.4 degrees Celsius.
Director of the Meteorological Department, Sonam Lotus said the night temperature is expected to improve from Monday night ahead of a fresh spell of widespread moderate snow or rain in the plains of Jammu and Kashmir and Kargil district of Ladakh from December 11 to 13 with main activity on December 12.
However, there will be a dip in the day temperature during the wet spell which is also likely to impact surface and air transportation on Thursday in view of heavy to very heavy snowfall in the higher reaches of Pirpanjal, Zojilla pass, Zanskar, Banihal top and Mughal road, he said.
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