Snowfall closes Kashmir’s surface links with country

Medium level avalanche warning issued for higher reaches of Kupwara and Bandipora districts.

A widespread snowfall in the past 24 hours in the upper reaches of Kashmir resulted in the closure of three main highways on Monday, which included the Srinagar-Jammu, Srinagar-Leh and Srinagar-Poonch, and disconnected the Valley’s surface routes with the rest of the country.

An official said the Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed due to the landslips that took place in Ramban, Nashri, Panthial and Ramso areas.

“The highways connecting Srinagar with Poonch and Leh were already closed due to heavy snowfall.”

The Valley and Kargil in Ladakh witnessed the season’s first heavy snowfall in the past two days. Kashmir tourist destinations of Gulmarg and Sonamarg also witnessed a snowfall.

“At many places, around half-a-feet snowfall was recorded,” Sonam Lotus, director of the meteorological department, said.

The snowfall also left 10 civilians stranded on the Sinthan Pass-Chingam in south Kashmir.

An official said the civilians were stuck due to the heavy snowfall during the intervening night of November 15 and 16 and were rescued by the security forces.

“The rescue teams walked for five hours to reach the civilians during the night, in zero visibility conditions and then brought them down to Sinthan Maidan where they were provided with food and shelter.”

Mr. Lotus said J&K witnessed a good spell of snow and rain at most of the places in the past two days.

“Weather has improved significantly in both J&K and Ladakh since Monday. There will be a gradual rise in day temperature and slight fall in night temperature. There is no major system shaping up till November 22.”

J&K disaster management authority spokesman Amir Ali said a medium level avalanche warning has been issued for the higher reaches of Kupwara and Bandipora districts in north Kashmir.

“A low danger avalanche warning exists for the higher reaches of Baramulla and Ganderbal districts. People living in these avalanche prone areas have been advised to take precautionary measures and not to venture out in the avalanche prone areas,” Mr. Ali said.

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