Most areas in Kashmir received fresh snowfall on Tuesday, affecting flight operations at the airport, even as the Meteorological Department has forecast widespread snowfall or rains in the Valley over the next two days.
Many areas in Kashmir, especially in the higher reaches, experienced fresh snowfall overnight, with the plains of the Valley, including the summer capital here, witnessing light snowfall on Tuesday morning, an official of the Meteorological Department said.
He said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir, the star attraction for tourists visiting the Valley during winter, recorded nine inches (23 cm) of snowfall during the last 24 hours.
The famous health resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir, which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded 9.5 cm of snow, the official said.
He said Kupwara in north Kashmir received seven cm of snowfall, while Srinagar recorded two cm of fresh snowfall since this morning.
There official said there were reports of fresh snowfall in many other areas in the higher reaches of the Valley.
While the fresh snowfall affected the air-traffic at Srinagar Airport, the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was still open for traffic.
No flight has landed at the airport yet.
While most flights have been delayed, so far one flight has been cancelled due to bad weather, an official at the airport said.
He said if the weather improves, flight operations might take place later.
The nearly 300-km Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only all-weather roadlink connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, was open for one-way traffic, a spokesman of the Traffic department said.
He said traffic was allowed to ply from Srinagar towards Jammu, but the authorities were regularly checking the condition of the road.
Meanwhile, the night temperature across Kashmir division improved by several degrees due to the cloud cover.
While Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, Qazigund town registered a low of minus 0.4 degrees Celsius, the Meteorological Department official said.
He said the mercury in Pahalgam settled at a low of minus 1.3 while Gulmarg registered a low of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius and was the coldest recorded place in the Valley.
Kupwara, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 0.9 degree Celsius, while the mercury in Kokernag town in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 1.7 degrees Celsius, the official said.
Kargil town of Ladakh region was the coldest recorded place in the state as the mercury there settled at a low of minus 8.4 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said the nearby Leh town recorded a low of minus 6.1 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ considered the harshest period of winter, when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
The Valley has already experienced heavy snowfall twice during this period so far, first one of January 6 and then on January 16 throwing life out of gear on both occasions.
Chillai-Kalan’, which, began on December 21 last year, ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that.
The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
The MET Office has forecast widespread rains of snowfall in the Valley over three days from today, after which, it said, there is possibility of isolated to fairly widespread rains or snowfall over the next two days.