Srinagar, Dec 14 (IANS) Heavy snowfall in the Pir Panjal mountain range Friday closed the Srinagar-Jammu highway, the authorities said.
Brigadier T.P.S. Rawat, chief engineer of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains the highway told IANS: "In the Qazigund-Bannihal sector of the highway, there has been heavy snowfall during the night."
"Around two feet of snow had accumulated on the road in Qazigund while a two-and-a- half feet thick layer of snow covered the road near the Jawahar Tunnel. Snow clearance operations are on, but those intending to take the road are advised to contact the traffic control room before starting out," Rawat said.
It has been snowing intermittently in the Valley since last evening. Reports from Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam hill stations also said a thick layer of snow had accumulated in these areas.
Srinagar city witnessed the first snowfall of the season in the night, but as the temperatures rose in the morning the thin layer of snow on the roads and rooftops steadily melted.
A.R. Zargar, deputy director of the local meterological office told IANS: "Weather would remain inclement up to Dec 17. Till then, we expect rain and snow in the Valley and mountains of the Jammu region intermittently."
"We are expecting sunshine after Dec 17 as the western disturbance presently active here would weaken by then," Zargar said.
Western disturbances are extra tropical storms in the Mediterranean Sea that result in sudden rain and snow in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. These are especially important for the rabi crop (which is sown in winter and harvested in summer).