Unseasonal snow, heavy rains lead to dip in mercury in Kashmir

Unseasonal snow in the upper reaches and overnight heavy rains led to a dip in temperatures in the Kashmir valley where landslides blocked the Srinagar-Leh highway on Friday, leaving hundreds of people stranded.

Last Updated: May 28, 2010, 17:54 PM IST

Srinagar: Unseasonal snow in the upper
reaches and overnight heavy rains led to a dip in temperatures
in the Kashmir valley where landslides blocked the
Srinagar-Leh highway on Friday, leaving hundreds of people
stranded.

The upper reaches of Kashmir experienced unseasonal
snowfall since last night. The 11,578 feet high Zojila pass on
the 434-km Srinagar-Leh highway received heavy snowfall which
triggered landslides, prompting authorities to close the
arterial road for traffic this morning, a spokesman of the
traffic department said.
He said nearly 500 people were stranded on the road
with continuous snowfall hampering road clearance operations.

The highway, the only surface link between Ladakh and
Kashmir, is vital for transporting civilian and military goods
to the northern-most region of the country.

Zojila, 100 km from here, has received four to five
inches of snow till this morning, the spokesman said.

The hill resort of Sonamarg, 80 km from here, which is
situated on the highway, received two to three inches of snow
this morning.

Official reports said there was moderate to heavy
snowfall at several areas along the route to Amarnath shrine,
especially at the 3,718 metre-high Sheshnag, 3,657 metre-high
Panchtarni. The 3,880 cave shrine also received snowfall.
The upper reaches of Gulmarg, 60 km from here and its
surroundings also experienced light to moderate snowfall, the
reports said.

In the valley, it rained heavily with Srinagar
receiving 26 mm of rain till 0830 hours this morning, throwing
normal life out of gear in the city.

Most roads in the city, including Residency Road,
Lal Chowk and the area around the Tourist Reception Centre,
were waterlogged. The rain also disrupted landline services,
according to officials.

However, despite the rains, traffic on the 300-km
national highway between Srinagar and Jammu was plying
normally.

The night-long rains also brought appreciable drop in
the temperatures. The minimum temperature in Srinagar fell to
11 degree celsius, the Met office said.

Sounding a note of caution, officials said water
levels in all major rivers and rivulets was rising alarmingly.

"We are monitoring the situation keenly and a flood
alert will be sounded if the rains do not stop," one of them
said.

PTI