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Snowfall in JK, Himachal; Rain disrupts air traffic
Srinagar/Shimla, Dec 30 (IANS):
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Published on 30 Dec. 2010 11:31 PM IST
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Snowfall across the Kashmir Valley on Thursday forced closure of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and schools, which were kept open to compensate for the loss in studies suffered by students during the summer unrest.
“The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been closed for traffic due to snowfall in the Valley,” Coordinator in the Natural Disaster Management Cell Aamir Ali said.
He said more than 1.25 feet snow had accumulated at Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley, in Anantnag district.
“The road clearance work is in progress and a decision on allowing traffic would depend on the weather conditions,” he said.
The snowfall across the Valley also led authorities to order closure of schools.
“All the schools, which were functional so far, will now remain closed for winter vacation,” an official of the Divisional Administration Kashmir said.
He said the schools have been closed due to moderate snowfall in Kashmir Valley, which has resulted in many roads getting blocked, and to avoid inconvenience to the students.
The state Government had last month announced that it will keep classes IX, X, XI and XII open during winter in order to cope up with the losses suffered by students during the five-month summer unrest in the Valley when schools were closed.
The decision to keep the schools open was criticised by many sections of people who felt there was no point in putting the students through harsh weather conditions as Kashmir was in the grip of intense cold wave with temperatures plunging to minus six degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, air connectivity in Himachal Pradesh was partially disrupted Thursday owing to bad climatic conditions in the hill state, an official said here.
While the lower areas of the state received moderate to heavy rains, bringing the temperature down considerably, Himachal Pradesh’s picturesque tourist spot Manali got fresh spells of snowfall early Thursday morning.
Dharamsala, Shimla, Solan, Kasauli, Nahan and Mandi received moderate to heavy rains.
“Flights from Delhi to Shimla and from Delhi to Kullu were cancelled due to rains,” a Kingfisher Airlines official said here.
The Delhi-Dharamsala flight that normally arrives at 12.30 p.m. was running much behind schedule.
Earlier, to and fro flights between the state and Delhi were suspended Dec 26 owing to heavy fog in Delhi.
The state capital town of Shimla has recorded 28 mm of rain so far, and the minimum temperature Thursday was 4.1 degrees Celsius.
The queen of hills is yet to taste the season’s first snow, however, though nearby hills have been getting snowfall.
“Manali and its nearby tourist spots have been receiving good snowfall. This is the first significant snowfall of the season in Manali,” Meteorological Office Director Manmohan Singh told IANS here. He said that Manali has got 22 cm of snow so far, whereas the Rohtang Pass, just 52 km from Manali, has been covered with 34 cm of snow.
“Kufri and its nearby areas received more than 15 cm of snowfall. These places experienced season’s first snow Wednesday.”
Other popular spots Narkanda, 65 km from Shimla, the Solang Valley and Marhi near Manali also experienced moderate snowfall.
Singh said Kalpa in Kinnaur district and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district received 22 cm and 16 cm of snowfall respectively.
“The entire belt in Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu and Chamba district witnessed moderate to heavy snowfall during the past 24 hours,” he added.
The Met department’s forecast said the western disturbances - storm systems originating from Caspian Sea in the Central Asia and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region - are likely to be active by New Year’s eve. It was a gloomy, cold and dank Thursday morning as Delhi saw light drizzle. But the minimum temperature was above the average due to the cloud cover. Flight and train services were affected because of fog and low visibility.
The minimum temperature at 11.8 degrees Celsius was five degrees above the average for the end of the year in Delhi.
“The rise in the minimum temperature is because of the cloud cover. Clouds trap the earth’s heat,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official told IANS.

 
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