Srinagar, Jan 19 (PTI) The nearly 300-km long Srinagar- Jammu national highway, connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, was thrown open for one-way traffic, three days after heavy snowfall led to its closure on Monday.
“Traffic has been allowed to ply on the national highway after the road was cleared off snow yesterday,” an official of the Traffic Department here said.
He said only one-way traffic was allowed to ply on the highway today.
“While the stranded vehicles were cleared yesterday, this morning, one-way traffic from Jammu was allowed to ply,” the official said.
Meanwhile, there was slight snowfall and rain across Kashmir during the night and the minimum temperature at most places in the Valley went down.
Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, recorded a minimum of minus 3.3 degrees Celsius compared to the previous night’s minus 2.5 degrees Celsius, an official of the Meteorological Department said here.
He said Qazigund–the gateway town to Kashmir Valley–in the south registered a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag recorded a low of minus 1.7 degrees Celsius.
The famous resort of Pahalgam, which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of minus 12.4 degrees Celsius, a decrease of over eight degrees from previous night’s minus 4 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said the resort was the coldest recorded place in the state. The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, the star attraction for tourists visiting the Valley during winter, recorded a low of minus 12 degrees Celsius, against minus 9 degrees yesterday, he said.
Kupwara town in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius.
The official said the mercury in Leh in the frontier region of Ladakh settled at a low of minus 8.3 degrees Celsius, compared to the previous night’s minus 13.1 degrees.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ considered the harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
‘Chillai-Kalan’, which, began on December 21 last year, ends on January 31 but the cold wave continues even after the period.
The 40-day spell is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai- Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
The MET office has forecast light rains or snow at few places in the state over the next 24 hours. It said the weather would improve from today and would stay as such till January 21.
“From 22 to 26 evening or 27 morning, there is a possibility of another spell of rains or snow as the region will be hit by a fresh western disturbance on January 22,” a MeT official said.