Srinagar, Feb 12 (GNS): Normal life across Kashmir Valley was affected due to moderate snowfall since overnight, leading to the closure of crucial Srinagar-Jammu highway and suspension of the air traffic.

Reports reaching Global News Service (GNS) said that the Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, received fresh snowfall. A thick blanket of snow covered Srinagar, as tourists staying in hotels and houseboats came out in open to enjoy the flakes of snow. Many tourists and locals were seen hurling snow on each other to express their joy this evening. The snow led to deluging of almost all roads in Srinagar. The snowfall also disrupted electricity in many parts of Kashmir Valley including Lal Chowk, the commercial hub of the state. When this report was filed, many areas were reeling in darkness.

The snowfall also prompted the authorities to close the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu highway for traffic as the snowfall has led to slippery road conditions at Digdool, Khooni Nallah, and Panthal, even as the officials of Beacon made hectic efforts to clear the highway. The closure of the highway left scores of vehicles, including passenger vehicles and load carriers stranded on the highway.

“We have suspended traffic on the highway due to heavy snowfall last night. We have been able to clear most of the stranded vehicles, however, over a dozen vehicles, including passenger buses were stopped at Ramban due to landslides triggered by incessant rains and snow. Efforts are on to clear them,” a senior traffic police official told GNS.

The continuous snowfall and poor visibility also led to the cancellation of all inbound and outbound flights.

Srinagar, the capital city recorded 16 cm of snowfall till evening, while Qazigund recorded 17 cm, Pahalgam 13 cm, Kokernag  11 cm, Banihal 13 cm, and Baderwah 15 cm of snow. The minimum temperate in Srinagar was recorded at 0.2 degree Celsius.

Gulmarg valley, known as Asia’s Switzerland for its mighty slopes and landscape recorded 32 cm of snow as the minimum temperature was recorded at minus 2.1 degree Celsius. Pahalgam, another famous hill station in south Kashmir recorded minimum temperature of 2.1 degree Celsius.

Meanwhile, the meteorological department has predicted more rains and snow across Jammu and Kashmir in the next 24 hours.

“Moderate to rather heavy rain/snow will occur at most places over the state,” an official of the met department said. (GNS)