At least 10 flights were cancelled and several delayed on Saturday as air traffic between Kashmir and the rest of the country was affected due to low visibility and inclement weather with the overnight snowfall continuing at most places in the valley, officials said.
The snowfall, which started late in the afternoon on Friday, continued through the night at most places, they said. Intermittent snowfall was going on at many places in the valley when last reports came in, they said. The officials said while light to moderate snowfall was recorded in plains of Kashmir, moderate to heavy fall, with very heavy at isolated places, was recorded in the higher reaches of the valley.
Srinagar city recorded around four inches of fresh snowfall, Gulmarg -- the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir -- around a foot of fresh snow, Qazigund town in south around eight inches, Shopian about 15 inches. Some places also received heavy rains. The inclement weather led to disruption in the flight operations at the Srinagar airport here, the officials said.
"Due to continuous snowfall and low visibility, no flight operations have taken place at the Srinagar airport so far this morning," they said. They said so far at least 10 flights have been cancelled for the day and many others have been delayed. The flight operations will resume once the runway is cleared off the snow and the visibility improves, the officials said.
The snowfall also affected the supply of electricity in some areas, even as the officials said then work on the restoration was going on. Broadband and fiber internet lines were also snapped at many places in the city here, and service providers were not taking any technician visit requests due to the snowfall, the officials said. They said the restoration requests would be resumed on Sunday.
The snow clearance was tardy at many places in the city and elsewhere as many residents complained that snow was yet to be cleared from several areas. All the examinations scheduled for Saturday, including the examinations of Kashmir University and Cluster University, have been postponed and the fresh dates will be notified later, the officials said.
Meanwhile, Srinagar recorded the minimum temperature of 0.2 degrees Celsius last night, the officials said. They said Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, while Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 0.2 degrees Celsius.
They said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded the minimum of zero degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 0.9 degrees Celsius. The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of zero degrees Celsius. The MET Office has said the current weather is most likely to continue till Saturday evening, after which it is expected to gradually decrease in intensity.
Significant Improvement is likely from Sunday morning, after which the weather is likely to stay mainly dry over the next few days, it said. Kashmir valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as 'Chilla-i-Kalan' which began on December 21.
'Chilla-i-Kalan' is a period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley. The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall. The 'Chilla-i-Kalan' will end on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day-long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).
-With PTI Inputs