Heavy snowfall halts life in Kashmir Valley

January 15th, 2011 - 1:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Jan 15 (IANS) Heavy snowfall Saturday halted life across the Kashmir Valley as roads were blocked, electricity supply was disrupted and people were forced to remain indoors because of the biting cold.The strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway, which is the Valley’s only road link with the rest of the country remained closed for the second day due to heavy snowfall in the Bannihal sector of the road.

Srinagar recorded 6 to 9 inches of snowfall till Saturday morning, while Sonamarg hill station in north Kashmir saw 18 inches of snow and the Gulmarg ski resort recorded 18 to 24 inches of snow, said an official of the provincial administration here.

“Pahalgam recorded 12 inches of snow till this (Saturday) morning,” he said.

The official added that snow clearing machines have been moved out in Srinagar city to clear the roads for traffic.

Most roads in Srinagar and almost all the inter-district roads connecting various districts of the Valley with the summer capital are closed.

Electricity supply has been cut off in most areas of the Valley since Friday evening, adding to the people’s woes during the freezing winter.

Authorities said efforts to restore electricity and roads are under way and if the weather improves, normalcy could return by the day end.

The weather office said there would be relief from the heavy snowfall by Sunday.

“The weather will start improving by tomorrow,” Mubeen Ahmad Malik, scientific assistant at the weather office here.

The intense cold continued in the region with Srinagar seeing a minimum of minus 0.2 degrees Celsius while Leh was minus 9.4 degrees, the official said.

“The minimum temperature in Pahalgam was minus 2.3 degrees Celsius and it was minus 16.4 degrees in Kargil town,” Malik added.

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