Banihal/Jammu, Jan 21 (PTI) The traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway -- the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country -- was suspended Monday as high altitude areas experienced heavy snowfall while plains were lashed by incessant rains. Jawahar Tunnel the gateway to Kashmir - along the 270-km highway received nearly two feet of snow since Sunday evening, forcing authorities to close the arterial road for traffic, an official of the traffic department said.
However, local traffic on Banihal-Ramban stretch of the highway was allowed despite incessant rains which also triggered shooting of stones near Battery Cheshma this morning. The road was immediately cleared to allow local traffic, the official said. He said the snow clearance operation on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel was going on despite intermittent snowfall.
The early opening of the highway for traffic looks bleak as weatherman has predicted moderate to heavy snowfall and rains across Jammu and Kashmir till Wednesday, the official said. The high altitude areas are experiencing intermittent snowfall sixth spell during this month, while plains including Jammu were lashed by rains since last evening. Due to the prevailing weather conditions, the minimum temperature across Jammu region rose by several degrees.
The minimum temperature recorded in Jammu was 11.9 degrees Celsius, 4.9 degrees above normal during this part of the season, a spokesman of the MET office said. Despite cloudy weather, the day temperature in the City of Temples also settled 2.1 degrees above normal at 20 degrees Celsius on Sunday, he said. Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district, recorded a low of 10 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.
He said the highway township of Banihal, which recorded 57.0 mm of rains till 0830 hours, was the coldest recorded place in Jammu region with a minimum of 1.1 degrees Celsius.
The nearby Batote recorded a night temperature of 2.1 degrees Celsius, while Bhaderwah in Doda district and Kathua along the Jammu-Pathankot Highway recorded a minimum of 1.9 and 9.2 degrees Celsius, respectively, the spokesman said.