Fresh snowfall in most places of Kashmir brought down visibility to 500 metres, affecting air traffic to and from the Valley on Wednesday. Light to moderate snowfall was recorded at most places of Kashmir while the higher reaches witnessed heavy snowfall. The weather department has predicted that the intensity of precipitation will decrease as the day progresses.
All flights at the Srinagar airport were delayed. Although snow accumulation was not much at the airport, low visibility -- which was down to 500 metres -- affected flight operations, officials said. The flight operations will start once the visibility improves to at least 1,000 metres, they added. Meanwhile, the minimum temperatures improved across the Valley.
The mercury in Srinagar settled at a low of zero degree Celsius -- up from minus 2.3 degrees Celsius. Qazigund, the gateway to the Kashmir Valley, registered a low of minus 0.2 degrees Celsius, the officials said. According to the traffic department, there were some incidents of shooting stones amid rains at some places along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, but the traffic was through.
It also advised people not to take the highway between Nashri and Banihal till the Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra passed through. "In view of the Bharat Jodo Yatra from Ramban towards Banihal, no vehicular movement shall be allowed from Qazigund towards Banihal-Ramban and from Nashri towards Ramban-Banihal," the traffic department said.
Kokernag in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature in Kupwara settled at minus 0.6 degrees Celsius. In Gulmarg, the minimum temperature was minus 4.6 degrees Celsius – up from minus 9.5 degrees Celsius. It was the coldest place in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pahalgam, which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a minimum temperature of minus 2.6 degrees Celsius, up six notches from the previous night. The meteorological office said overcast conditions with light snow or rain at isolated places were likely on Thursday.
Kashmir is currently in the grip of 'Chillai Kalan', the 40-day harshest weather period when chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent. Chillai Kalan begins on December 21 and ends on January 30. The cold wave continues even after that with the 20-day 'Chillai Khurd' and the 10-day-long 'Chillai Bachha' following it.