Kashmir received further snowfall on Tuesday, forcing the suspension of air traffic to the valley as authorities carried out snow clearing operations in all major cities, officials said.
While the upper parts of the valley have experienced intermittent snowfall since Monday, Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir received the first snowfall of the year, they said.
Snowfall and low visibility affected air travel to and from Kashmir, officials said.
“So far 16 flights have been canceled. If the weather improves, air traffic could be restored later today,” an Indian Airport Authority official told PTI.
Authorities have started snow removal operations in all major towns, including the tourist resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam, they said.
Snowfall brought warmer-than-expected nights in the valley, but the meteorologist predicted the temperature would rise further over the next two days.
Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 0.6 degrees Celsius, down from 3.0 degrees Celsius the night before, officials said.
Gulmarg, the famous ski resort in northern Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 5.0 degrees Celsius – slightly up from 5.8 degrees Celsius the night before.
Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of minus 1.2 degrees Celsius from minus 3.0 degrees Celsius the night before, officials said.
They said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded a minimum temperature of 0.6 degrees Celsius, while the neighboring town of Kokernag in southern Kashmir recorded a low of minus 0.4. degree Celsius.
The mercury in Kupwara in northern Kashmir has settled at a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius.
The Met Office forecast a generalized period of moderate to heavy snow / rain through January 8. Heavy snowfall is also expected in some places during the period, he said.
The Kashmir Valley is currently in the grip of the harshest 40-day winter period known as ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’, which began on December 21.
‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ is a time when a cold snap grips the area and the temperature drops dramatically causing water bodies to freeze, including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply pipes. water in several parts of the valley.
The chances of snowfall are most frequent and greatest during this period and most areas, especially in the higher stretches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall.
The ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ will end on January 31st, but the cold snap continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (little cold) and a 10-day ‘Chilla- i-Bachha. ‘(cold baby).
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