Snowfall in hill states, Jammu-Srinagar highway closed

New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) Hills states experiencedsnowfall today at many places with heavy sleet forcing closureof Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the only road link to theKashmir Valley.

Snowfall around Jawahar Tunnel and higher reaches ofPir Panjal mountain range since yesterday has rendered thehighway slippery and vehicular traffic has been stopped, anofficial at the Traffic Control Room told PTI. Over 100vehicles are stranded at different places on the highway.

Qazigund, the gateway town to the Valley, received 3cm of snow, while the skiing resort of Gulmarg recorded around2 cm of snow.

Summer capital Srinagar witnessed a cold nightwith mercury dipping to 2.6 degrees Celsius.

Higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh witnessed snowfallat many places, including tourist destination Manali andShimla, bringing cheers to visitors. Lower hills receivedintermittent showers, with Saloni and Kumarsain receiving 10mm of rains.

Manali received 2 cm of fresh snow, while the ''Queenof Hills'' Shimla experienced 5 cm of snowfall last night whenmercury dipped to 0.8 degree Celsius. High altitude Kinnaurand Lahaul and Spiti districts also were covered by thickwhite blanket.

According to MeT department, rain and snow alsooccurred at isolated places in Uttarakhand. Officials haveforecast similar weather for the region tomorrow.

In the national capital, it was a pleasant day withthe mercury hovering just below the normal level and morningmist followed by partly cloudy sky bringing a soothing effectto the atmosphere.

The day temperature was recorded at 24.2 degreeCelsius, two degrees below normal while the minimum settled at10.1 degrees, a degree less than normal for this time of theseason. The weatherman predicted that the city might receiverains tomorrow.

Overnight rains lashing some parts of Punjab andHaryana, brought a decline in the pre-dawn reading withmercury staying at 2 deg below normal at many places.

While Karnal received 2.2 mm of rains, Chandigarh got1.4 mm and Amritsar 0.4 mm.

Amritsar was the coldest place in plains of Punjab andHaryana with a low of 4.6 deg Celsius, which was two notchesbelow normal. In Chandigarh, the mercury settled at11.3 deg C. The MeT forecast similar weather for the next twodays in the region.

However, dry weather prevailed in Uttar Pradesh andRajasthan with their capitals Lucknow and Jaipur settling at10 cm and 16 deg C in night, respectively.

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