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J&K: Flash floods, landslides due to heavy rains, snowfall

J&K: Flash floods, landslides due to heavy rains, snowfall
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Jammu/Srinagar: Heavy rains lashed Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, triggering flash floods and landslides, with authorities forced to shut schools in several districts including Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban and evacuate people from low-lying areas, while the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway remained blocked for the second day leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded.

In Kashmir, the Jhelum crossed the danger mark at Sangam in Anantnag district and the water level was rising in other rivers also, officials said.

A high alert has been sounded in areas close to river Chenab and its tributaries, they said.

Snowfall in the higher reaches, including the holy cave shrine of Amarnath, has brought down the day temperature substantially, the officials said.

Police rescued 50 passengers travelling in 10 vehicles which were trapped due to snowfall and heavy rains in the high-altitude area in Kishtwar district on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

"Snowfall and heavy rains triggered flash-floods in Simthan top area following which 50 passengers, including some women and children, were stranded. The police got the track cleared and after a lot of hard work rescued all the passengers," an official said.

The water level at Sangam in Anantnag district was measured at 21.60 ft, marginally above the 21-feet mark for flood declaration, they said.

Vaishov stream, which flows mainly through Kulgam district, was flowing dangerously above the flood alert mark. However, the water level has started receding since 10 am, the officials said.

A breach was reported in a temporary diversion along the banks of Vaishov stream as Chamgund in Kulgam, they said adding many areas of the district have been flooded. Authorities have started moving people from low-lying areas to safer locations, they said.

The Doodhganga stream was also flowing close to flood alarm level at Barzulla in the heart of Srinagar's civil lines area. The weatherman had forecast improvement in weather later in the day.

Schools in many parts of the valley were closed due to the heavy rains which resulted in waterlogging in low-lying areas.

Many houses in Bemina, Rambagh and Rajbagh areas of the city were affected due to water-logging.

A group of 14 trekkers was stranded near Tarser Lake in south Kashmir and a rescue team was rushed to the spot from Pahalgam.

The snowfall in the upper reaches and rains in the plains have sent the mercury nosediving and Srinagar witnessed its coldest June day in almost 50 years, according to available data. Srinagar on Tuesday recorded a maximum temperature of 15.0 degrees Celsius, which was 14.2 degrees lower than normal for this time of the year.

An incident of house collapse was also reported from Ramban district, while five people trapped in flash floods in river Ans in Reasi district were rescued by the police, officials said.

The Doda district administration has declared high alert in several areas in the mountainous district.

"We have been forced to declare high alert in areas close to river Chenab and its tributaries, and also on slopes and slide-prone areas of Ramban and Doda districts," an official said.

The 270-kilometres Jammu-Srinagar national highway was closed for a second consecutive day on Wednesday due to over 30 landslides and mudslides triggered by the heavy rains in the Ramban-Udhampur sector, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded, officials said.

The traffic on Mughal Road, an alternative link connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in the Jammu region with south Kashmir's Shopian district, was also suspended due to landslides en route, they said.

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