There was widespread snowfall in Kashmir and parts of Jammu division on Sunday, prompting the authorities to close the Srinagar-Jammu national highway and postpone class-11 board exams.
The snow started laying a white cover on the valley since the wee hours on Sunday, a day ahead of the forecast made by the weather office.
Director meteorological centre based in Srinagar, Sonam Lotus said moderate snowfall was reported from most places of J&K and at Zojila, connecting the Valley with Ladakh.
“As of now, snowfall of the same intensity is likely to continue till afternoon and thereafter there will be a temporary break till evening,” he said.
He said the maximum snow depth--12 inches or 30 cm-- till 10 am was in Kulgam in South Kashmir.
The MeT office said that there was 21 cm snowfall till morning in Qazigund, 18.5 cm in Kokernag, 11.5 cm in Pahalgam and 6 cm in summer capital Srinagar.
The snowfall is going to intensify further.
“Moderate to heavy snowfall with isolated very heavy snowfall most likely to occur in South Kashmir, Gulmarg in North Kashmir, Banihal-Ramban, Poonch, Rajouri, Kishtwar, Zanskar Drass and on higher reaches of Ladakh region,” Lotus said.
He said that the snowfall will continue from 3rd to 6th January forenoon with occasional breaks.
“This may lead to a disruption of surface and air transportation, water logging in plains of Jammu and Srinagar cities,” he said.
The electricity has already started to play hide and seek in the region while roads in many parts are covered with snow. The authorities have deployed men and machinery to clear snow from important roads.
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The traffic authorities closed Srinagar-Jammu national highway for traffic.
“Jammu-Srinagar NHW closed for traffic movement due to heavy snowfall around Jawahar Tunnel,” the traffic department said in a tweet.
Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education said that the examination of students of class 11th, scheduled today, was postponed in view of the bad weather.
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The 40-day intense winter period of ‘Chillai Kalan’ started in Kashmir valley on December 21 with sub zero night temperatures across the region. There have been spells of snow in the region in December.
This year, the winter has started on a harsh note as the temperature dropped to a record minus 6.6 degrees celsius in summer capital Srinagar on December 19, the lowest temperature of the season and also the second coldest December night in the past one decade.