Kashmir remains cut off as heavy snowfall disrupts flight services, closes highway; avalanche warning issued for 16 districts

Srinagar: Heavy snowfall Thursday threw normal life out of gear in Kashmir due to disruption in essential services as the valley remained cut off for the second consecutive day as the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained closed and flight services were cancelled at the airport in Srinagar.

Continuous snowfall in Kashmir over the past 24 hours has resulted in disruption of essential services in most of the districts in the valley with electricity supply infrastructure suffering severe damage, officials said.

"We are on the job to restore the damaged infrastructure but the quantum of damage is very large and it will take some time to restore electricity back to normal," an official of the divisional administration said.

The snowfall, which ranged between six inches in Srinagar to nearly three feet in some areas of South Kashmir, has blocked many roads within the valley, the official said.

He said snow clearance operations were started before dawn and all vital routes were cleared by the time people ventured out for daily activities.

"However,  the snowfall has been continuous and I'm some areas we have had to repeat the snow clearance exercise," he added.

Social media was abuzz with videos depicting the difficulty faced by people due to snowfall. A video from Adoora village in Baramulla in which a pregnant woman is being carried to a hospital on a make-shift stretcher through knee-deep snow, has gone viral.

Many videos of cars slipping on the roads in the city have also been widely shared as the residents accused the administration of being unprepared even after MeT department forecast of heavy snowfall from 5-7 February.

Meanwhile, Kashmir remained cut off from rest of the world for the second consecutive day on Thursday due to heavy snowfall across the valley.

"Due to bad weather and heavy snowfall at Srinagar Airport, all flights were cancelled for today," an official of the Airport Authority of India said.

No flights were able to operate to and from Srinagar airport on Wednesday due to snowfall.

The traffic control department said the arterial Srinagar-Jammu road remained closed for the second day due to accumulation of snow around Jawahar Tunnel and landslides at several places in Ramban District.

"The traffic has been suspended on the highway due to piling on snow on either side of the tunnel and also landslides triggered by rains at several places, " the official of the traffic department said.

A fresh avalanche has struck near Jawahar tunnel on the valley side, blocking it's north portal, the official said.

He said a decision on resuming traffic will be taken only after snow and debris of landslides is cleared and the weather improves.

Meanwhile, authorities have issued an avalanche warning of varying danger levels for 16 of the 22 districts of Jammu and Kashmir for the next 24 hours.

The Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE) issued high danger avalanche warning for Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kulgam and Kupwara districts in the valley while medium danger warning was issued for Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Udhampur and Leh districts.

A low danger warning was issued for Kargil District.

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Updated Date: Feb 07, 2019 21:53:36 IST