Mercury rises slightly as Kashmir braces for snowf



Srinagar: Overnight rain led to a rise in temperatures in parts of Kashmir Valley even as the weatherman predicted a bout of snowfall from tonight onwards, prompting the administration to order closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway on January 17 and 18 as a precautionary measure.

Light rainfall brought the chill down as night temperatures increased marginally in the summer capital of Srinagar and in the frontier region of Ladakh.

According to the MeT department, Srinagar was at -0.1 degrees Celsius, up from -0.4 degrees the previous night after receiving 0.2 mm rainfall.

The skies opened up briefly in the highway town of Qazigund in south Kashmir as well which received 0.9 mm rainfall and recorded a low of -1.0 degrees Celsius.

Although the mercury did not register a major slide anywhere in the state, there were areas which did see temperatures drop.

In north Kashmir's Kupwara, the minimum settled at -0.9 degrees Celsius as against yesterday's -0.3 degrees Celsius, the MeT office said.

The south Kashmir hill resort of Pahalgam, which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, was at -3.8 degrees Celsius, slightly lower than -3.4 degrees Celsius the previous night. The ski resort of Gulmarg, also in north Kashmir, shivered at -6.7 degrees Celsius, a little lower than -7.0 degrees Celsius yesterday.

In the Ladakh region, night temperature increased in Leh town to touch -9.5 degrees from -11.6 degrees the night before.

Kargil, with a low of -12.0 degrees Celsius, was the coldest place in the state although the temperature there registered an increase of over two notches from -14.6 degrees Celsius the previous night.

MeT has forecast moderate to heavy snowfall starting tonight, which is likely to intensify on January 17 and 18 and may even continue till January 19.

The Kashmir divisional administration has thus ordered closure of the 294 km Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road linking Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, on January 17 and 18 as a precautionary measure in view of the snow forecast.

PTI