A fresh snowfall has caused major disruptions in normal life in Jammu and Kashmir, where an avalanche warning has been issued in five districts, higher reaches and tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh, and the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The moderate to heavy snowfall since Sunday night has caused road, rail and air traffic to come to a halt, and nearly 500 roads, including three national highways, have been closed in Himachal Pradesh. The flight operations at the Srinagar airport have been suspended due to poor visibility and accumulation of snow on the runway, and the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has been closed due to landslides along the road. The Baramulla-Banihal train route has also been suspended.
The Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority has predicted avalanches of medium danger level to occur above 2500 meters in Bandipora, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kupwara, and Ramban in the next 24 hours, and has advised people to restrict movement and evacuate unprotected settlements. In Himachal Pradesh, moderate to heavy snow was recorded in various parts of Shimla, Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu and Chamba districts, causing traffic disruptions and affecting water and power supplies in several areas. The snow also led to the closure of 496 roads, including three national highways, and 908 transformers were affected in the state.
The Met Office has issued an ‘orange’ alert for heavy rains and snowfall at isolated places in the mid and high hills of Chamba, Kangra, Kullu, Mandi, Shimla, Lahaul and Spiti, and Kinnaur. Widespread rains were reported in the mid and lower hills, with the Shimla police requesting commuters to avoid unnecessary travel and take proper precautions. Work to clear the roads is ongoing, and efforts are being made to restore connectivity.
In Uttarakhand, the Garhwal region witnessed fresh snowfall and rain, while the Kumaon region remained largely dry. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri were all covered in a thick layer of snow, and the lower areas, including Joshimath, were hit with rains. The weather is expected to clear from Tuesday.
Farmers have been advised to take precautions against waterlogging. The fresh snow and rain have reduced the rainfall deficit in January to 2% in Himachal Pradesh, and minimum temperatures have declined in various areas. The key tourist destinations of Kufri, Manali, Dalhousie and Shimla have seen minus temperatures, and tourists have been advised to take proper precautions.