Heavy snowfall in J&K, U'khand, Himachal; avalanche warning in four Kashmir districts
New Delhi: Several high-altitude areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh were wrapped in thick white sheets of snow, with many tourist destinations like Kufri, Manali and Auli receiving the season's first snowfall, while temperatures dipped in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab following rains.
Heavy snowfall and landslides in the Union Territory forced closure of the important Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Ramban and authorities in Kashmir have issued an avalanche warning for four districts -- Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla and Ganderbal.
Upper Himalayan areas, including Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Auli and Harsil, of Uttarakhand received the season's first heavy snowfall, intensifying cold conditions across the state.
Snowfall began on Sunday night and continued till Monday morning, according to officials.
Heavy snowfall delayed the departure of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Uttarakhand counterpart Trivendra Singh Rawat for Badrinath after they had offered prayers at Kedarnath temple and attended a ceremony for the closure of its portals for winter.
Himachal Pradesh's tourist hotspots Kufri and Manali received the first snowfall of the season, the MeT department said.
Kufri received 7 cm snowfall whereas Manali in Kullu district received 2 cm in the last 24 hours, Shimla MeT Centre Director Manmohan Singh said, adding that Sangla recoded 25 cm snowfall, Gondla 20 cm, Khadrala 18 cm, Kalpa 5.6 cm and Keylong 4 cm.
Besides, several other areas of the state including its capital Shimla experienced 21.6 mm rainfall.
In Jammu and Kashmir, security forces have rescued 10 people, including two women and a child, after they were trapped in heavy snowfall at the high-altitude Sinthan pass, a defence spokesperson said.
The rescue operation was carried out late Sunday night after information was received about a group of civilians stranded at Sinthan pass that connects Kishtwar district of Jammu region with Kashmir's Anantnag, he said.
The rescue team, comprising army and police personnel, walked for five hours along the National Highway 244 in zero visibility conditions during the night and brought the stranded people to Sinthan ground where they were provided with food and shelter, the spokesperson said. Heavy snowfall in the Union Territory also affected traffic on major roads.
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the only all-weather road connecting Kashmir with rest of the country, was closed for traffic following snowfall around Jawahar Tunnel and landslides from the hillocks at several places in Ramban district, officials said.
The alternate link between the valley and rest of the country, Mughal Road, also remained closed for the third day as high-altitude areas experienced snowfall, while plains of Jammu and other parts were lashed by rains since Sunday afternoon, the officials said.
Light rain, which was triggered by the Western Disturbance, was recorded in a few areas of eastern Rajasthan since Sunday and Bari in Dholpur and Mandrayal in Karauli both received 4 cm rainfall.