SRINAGAR – All 43 flights, scheduled to operate to and fro Srinagar international airport, on Saturday were cancelled due to snowfall, which also threw normal life out of gear across Kashmir Valley.
Director, Airports Authority of India, Srinagar, Kuldeep Singh said that while 43 flights were operate but snowfall forced their cancellation.
While weather is set to improve as per the forecast by the local meteorological department, the Director AAI expressed hope that all flights will operate on Sunday. However he urged travellers to check the status before heading to the airport. “I request the travellers to follow our twitter handle as well as remain in touch with the respective airlines regarding the status of the flights and then plan accordingly,” he said.
For a brief moment around noon today, light improved and there appeared chances of flight operations. The AAI had even announced resumption of the operations “soon” after clearing the snow from the runway and the apron.
“Unfortunately the snowfall started again and the visibility dropped, forcing the cancellation of all the flights,” an official of AAI said.
On Friday, 31 flights operated to and fro Srinagar airport before sudden change in weather happened, leading to cancellation of six others.
On Thursday, 35 flights operated while 6 others were cancelled. 42 flights were cancelled on Tuesday while many as 37 could not operate on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, snowfall threw normal life out of gear in Kashmir Valley despite an advisory by the MeT Department several days ago.
Snowfall, which began late Friday night, lead to power disruptions in some parts of Srinagar and elsewhere. However, the officials said that by and large, most places in Srinagar are getting electricity as per the curtailment schedule announced as soon the winter set in. Reports about travel disruptions were received from several parts even as officials said that immediate measures were taken to clear snow of the roads.
The Valley and part of Jammu division received moderate to heavy snowfall while winter capital of J&K received over 80mm of rainfall since overnight, officials said.
An official of the MeT department said that Srinagar recorded snowfall of 9cms in last 24 hours till 0830 hours today.
The summer capital of J&K, he said, recorded a low of 0.2°C against previous night’s 2.6°C. It was 2.1°C above normal for this time of the year in Srinagar, he said.
Kashmir is presently under the grip of 40-day long harshest period of winter, known locally as ‘Chillai Kalan, which started from December 21. It is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ and a 10-day-long ‘Chilla Bachha’.
Gulmarg, had 32 cms (13 inches) of fresh snowfall during the time and recorded a low of minus 4.6°C against minus 5.5°C on the previous night at the world famous resort, he said.
Qazigund received 20cms of snow during the time while as the gateway town of Kashmir recorded a low of 0.0°C against 0.4°C on the previous night, he said.
Pahalgam, the famous resort in south Kashmir had 6.4cms of fresh snowfall and recorded a low of minus 0.2°C against minus 0.4°C on previous night, he said.
Kokernag, also in south Kashmir, had 9 cms of snow and recorded a low of minus 0.9°C against minus 0.2°C on previous night, the official said.
Kupwara town in north Kashmir, had 6.4cms of fresh snowfall and recorded a minimum of 0.0°C against 0.8°C as on the previous night, the official said.
Jammu had 83.5mm rain and recorded a low of 10.6 °C, down few notches from the previous night’s 11.1°C and normal of 7.3°C for the J&K’s winter capital during this time of the year, he said.
Banihal had 31.4cms of snowfall and recorded a low of minus 0.2°C while Batote and Bhaderwah received 3 cms and 10 cms of snowfall respectively, the official said.
Ladakh’s Leh recorded a low of minus 9.7°C against last night’s 1.5°C, the official said.
District Kulgam said that Aharbal received 2.5ft snowfall, Dandward: 2.5ft , Khull: 2.5ft, D.H. Pora: 2.41 ft Nandimarg: 3 ft and Waltengoo Nard: 2ft.
“Expect gradual decrease in rain/snow intensity from this evening (January 8). There will be significant Improvement in weather from January 9 onwards in J&K,” the official said.
Earlier the weatherman had issued Orange warning for January 8. There are four types of colour codes signifying the level of caution: green which means no action, yellow—situation to be watched), orange–government agencies need to be prepared for severe weather and red –action needed by the agencies.
The MeT office has urged people not to venture in avalanche prone areas, follow traffic advisory seriously as well as maintain proper ventilation of their rooms.