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Snowfall at Vaishnodevi shrine, rains in Jammu

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JAMMU: High altitude areas of Jammu province, including the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi atop the Trikuta hills, received fresh snowfall in the morning while Srinagar and other plain areas of Kashmir received this winter’s first snowfall on Thursday, bringing cheer to the residents.
Officials said moderate to light rains also lashed the plains of the Jammu region.
“Fresh snowfall was witnessed in and around the Bhawan of Mata Vaishnodevi. The Trikuta hills area was covered with a blanket of snow this morning,” they said.
Bhairon Ghati and Himkoti in Trikuta hills and the serpentine route leading to the shrine also experienced snowfall, they said.
Despite the snowfall, the pilgrimage to the temple remained unaffected, with hundreds of pilgrims departing from the Katra base camp this morning.
Apart from Vaishno Devi, the mountains of Kishtwar, Doda, Reasi, Ramban, Kathua, Rajouri, and Poonch, including the Mughal Road, experienced snowfall.
Authorities have warned people about the potential risk of landslides and shooting stones on vulnerable spots along highways and urged them to avoid unnecessary travel.
The hills around the Patnitop hill resort also experienced snowfall.
In Jammu and Samba areas, rains accompanied by light winds marked the end of over a month of dry and chilly foggy conditions.

Season’s first snowfall in Srinagar

“Rains have ended the extreme cold conditions, providing relief to the residents,” a MeT official said.
Heavy snowfall and rain are forecasted in Kishtwar district, posing risks of landslides and disruptions on national highways and hilly roads, officials said.
Meanwhile, Srinagar and other plain areas of Kashmir received this winter’s first snowfall, bringing cheer to the residents.
The snowfall in the plain areas began late Wednesday night and continued till the morning at most places, officials said.
“It started as a mix of rain and snow late last night in Srinagar and other adjoining areas in the plains and by the morning, the valley was covered under a blanket of snow,” they said.
Srinagar received around two inches of snowfall, Anantnag town four inches, Qazigund nine, Pahalgam 10, Pulwama town two, Kulgam town three, Shopian town five, Ganderbal town two, Baramulla town three, Kupwara town four, and Gulmarg 14 inches, the officials said.

Jammu-Srinagar NH closed for traffic, over 200 vehicles stranded

BANIHAL/JAMMU: The Jammu-Srinagar national highway was closed for traffic on Thursday due to a landslip in Ramban district, leaving over 200 vehicles stranded.
The highway also witnessed fresh snowfall at several places.
The landslip took place in Sherbibi area of the district, which also witnessed heavy rains, officials said.
“The road damaged near Sherbibi on Jammu-Srinagar highway and restoration work is about to start”, traffic police said on X.
Over 200 vehicles are stranded at different points of the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country.
They said work is on to reopen the highway for traffic but incessant rains in the Ramban-Banihal sector were proving to be an impediment.
The traffic police advised people to avoid journey on the highway till the weather improves and the road is clear.

The higher reaches received moderate to heavy snowfall, they added.
It is the season’s first snowfall in the plains of the Kashmir valley, including in the summer capital Srinagar, which had experienced little precipitation so far this winter in the form of rains, the officials said.
The Kashmir valley witnessed a prolonged dry spell this winter with most of the Chilla-i-Kalan — the 40 day harsh winter period, when the chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent — remaining dry. While some areas in the higher reaches had received light snowfall, most of the upper reaches experienced moderate snowfall at the fag-end of the Chilla-i-Kalan.
The snowfall at the end of Chilla-i-Kalan brought cheers to the tourists as well as the locals associated with the tourism sector.
Thursday’s snowfall shut down the Srinagar-Jammu national highway as it was blocked due to shooting stones between Ramsoo and Banihal. The alternate Mughal road and the Srinagar-Leh highway are closed for traffic due to snow accumulation.
However, the snowfall brought cheer to the residents.
“Finally, there is snow in the plains of Kashmir. We thank God for this blessing,” Mehraj Ahmad, a resident of the city here, said.
He expressed hope that the coming days will see more snowfall in the valley.
Irfan Ahmad, a resident of Ganderbal, said while the snowfall was the need of the hour for the valley as it was essential for sustenance.
“We witnessed a prolonged dry weather. Our glaciers have melted, there was hardly any snow left on the mountains before the recent snowfall. Snow is really important for our sustenance. Without it, our water resources would have dried up, it could have hit our horticulture especially fruit produce, and the dry spell resulted in many respiratory ailments. So, it is essential we have a good snowfall,” he said
The valley’s orchardists also expressed happiness over the snowfall.
“We thank God as the long wait is finally over and it is snowing across Kashmir. the snow is very beneficial for the farmers and orchardists. People in Kashmir were under distress because there was no snow in the plains which could have meant doom for the horticulture produce.
“However, the snowfall now has infused a new life into it and we hope there is more snow in the days to come,” a farmer in Kulgam said.
The MeT Office has said the weather would remain cloudy with light snow at few places till the afternoon and there would be a gradual improvement thereafter.
On Friday, the weather is likely to remain dry with a possibility of very light snow at isolated higher reaches.
There is a possibility of light to moderate snow/rain (in Jammu) at many places of J-K on February 3-4, and the weather is likely to remain dry thereafter till February 12, the weather office said.
Srinagar city recorded a minimum temperature of 0.2 degrees Celsius — down from 2.2 degrees Celsius on the previous night.
Pahalgam recorded a minimum temperature of minus 4.1 degrees Celsius, Qazigund minus 0.4 degrees Celsius, Kokernag minus 1.4 degrees Celsius and Kupwara minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg registered a low of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius and was the coldest place in the valley.

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