Snowfall was recorded in higher reaches of North India on Tuesday and rain was witnessed in the plains, with Kashmir remaining cut-off from the rest of the country for the second consecutive day as the arterial Jammu-Srinagar national highway and Mughal road remained closed due to accumulation of snow. Sporadic rains continued in the national capital for the third consecutive day, even as the minimum temperature rose to 13.2 degrees Celsius, six notches more than normal, the India Meteorological Department said. The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded 1.3 mm rainfall till 5:30 pm.
The weather stations at Palam, Lodhi Road and Ridge recorded 5.3 mm and 0.4 mm and 4.8 mm rainfall, respectively, during the period. The minimum temperature rose to 13.2 degrees Celsius as a result of cloud cover. The maximum temperature settled at 20.8 degrees Celsius.
There was fresh snowfall in the higher reaches of Uttarakhand, and intermittent light showers and cold winds in the lower areas of the state. Snowfall began in the higher hills of Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh districts late on Monday night and continued at most of the places in these districts on Tuesday.
Gangotri and Yamunotri temples, dozens of villages in Harshil valley, hilly areas of Mori and Badkot in Uttarkashi district got covered in snow. Yamunotri recorded a minimum temperature of minus six degrees Celsius, while Gangotri recorded a minimum of one degrees. Overcast conditions prevailed in the plains, including Dehradun, which was swept by cold winds and intermittent drizzling. Kashmir was cut off from rest of the country for the second consecutive day as the arterial Jammu-Srinagar national highway and Mughal road remained closed, while air traffic was suspended due to snowfall across the valley. Nearly 4,500 vehicles, mostly trucks carrying essentials to the valley, are stranded along the highway at various places.
Mughal Road, which connects the valley to Jammu division through Shopian-Rajouri axis, has been closed for several days due to heavy snowfall in the region. The officials said south Kashmir's Kulgam district received highest snowfall with three to four feet of snow accumulated at some places. Anantnag district has also received heavy snowfall, they said. Srinagar city has witnessed moderate snowfall for the past three days but snow clearance operations have ensured that traffic movement was going on. The flight operations to and from Srinagar remained suspended for second consecutive day due to poor visibility, the officials said.
The minimum temperature improved in most places in the valley due to the snowfall but still stayed below the freezing point, the officials said. Srinagar city — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir — recorded a low of minus 0.8 degrees Celsius — up from the previous night's minus 0.9 degrees Celsius, they said.
The Jammu-Srinagar national highway remained closed for the third consecutive day following heavy snowfall and multiple landslides, even as over 250 stranded vehicles, mostly carrying passengers, were cleared after the arterial road was briefly opened for one-way traffic between Banihal and Qazigund, officials said. The 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was closed for traffic on Saturday night after Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway to Kashmir, experienced snowfall that left over 4,500 vehicles, mostly trucks stranded on either side.
With no let up in the snow in and around Jawahar Tunnel coupled with multiple landslides, mudslides and shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the highway at various places between Samroli and Banihal, the strategic road was closed for vehicular traffic since Sunday, the officials said. However, they said over 100 Jammu-bound trucks were cleared from Jawahar Tunnel area after the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) managed to clear the road of over three feet of accumulated snow on Monday evening.
The officials said a mud-slide which had struck the highway near Samroli in Udhampur district due to overnight rains was cleared around 2 pm Tuesday, thus paving the way for resumption of traffic on Jammu-Kishtwar-Doda highway. Meanwhile, Jammu and other plains were lashed by heavy rains, while high altitude areas in the region experienced intermittent snowfall for the third day on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority (DMA) issued fresh medium and low-level avalanche warnings for the higher reaches of the avalanche-prone areas in the Union Territory on Tuesday. An official spokesperson said a medium-level avalanche warning has been issued for the higher reaches of Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara and Bandipora districts, besides the Waltengu Nad, south and north portals of the Jawahar Tunnel, Verinag, Kapran, Chowkibal-NC Pass, Gurez, Dawar and Neeru areas.
"Similarly, a low-level avalanche warning has been issued for the upper reaches of Udhampur, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Sonamarg-Zojila, Z-Gali-Kalaroose, Kanzalwan, Tangmarg and Gulmarg," he added. People living in these avalanche-prone areas have been advised not to venture out to avoid loss of lives, the spokesperson said.
Cold weather conditions continued in Punjab and Haryana even as minimum temperatures stayed above normal levels in most parts of the states. Light to moderate rain accompanied with lightning and thunderstorm were observed at isolated places over western Uttar Pradesh while very light rain and thundershowers occurred at isolated places over eastern parts of the state.
Meanwhile, heavy rains lashed Chennai and its suburbs on Tuesday, inundating houses in some low lying areas and affecting normal life, while authorities released surplus water from the city reservoirs, including Chembarambakkam. The incessant rains, which returned to the city after a break of several weeks, led to water logging in many roads and motorists and office-goers faced a tough time reaching their destinations.
Chennai and adjacent regions witnessed heavy to very heavy rainfall under the influence of easterly trough, a senior Regional Meteorological Centre official here said.