Kashmir: Heavy snowfall cuts off JK from rest of the country

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Jammu Kashmir map
Srinagar, Jan 15: Kashmir Valley was cut off from the rest of the country today as fresh snowfall forced cancellation of all scheduled flights and blocked the vital Srinagar-Jammu national highway, officials said.

The snowfall started across the Valley including Srinagar late last night, also crippling normal life as most of the people preferred to remain indoors although the minimum temperature rose by several degrees providing much needed respite to people from extreme cold. An official spokesman said moderate to heavy snowfall was recorded in the Valley, prompting the authorities to issue an avalanche warning in the higher reaches close to the Line of Control (LoC).

"On the basis of information received from Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), a medium danger avalanche warning has been issued for higher reaches of north Kashmir," Coordinator Natural Disaster Management Cell Aamir Ali said.

The official said the areas prone to avalanches include Khilanmarg, Uri, Chowkibal, Tangdar, Keran, Macchil and Gurez. "People living in these snow bound areas above the height of 7500 feet have been advised not to venture into avalanche prone areas during the next 24 hours," Ali said.

Srinagar recorded about six inches of snow, while the famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir was covered by about 18 inches of snow so far, the spokesman said. Snowfall ranging between eight inches to over one feet was also recorded in other parts of the Valley including Pahalgam, Yousmarg and Sonamarg, he said.

Continued snowfall also hampered efforts of the Border Roads Organisation to clear the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country. Due to its closure, over 2200 vehicles are stranded at various places on the route, mostly Udhampur and Nagrota belts.

PTI

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