Srinagar, Jan 4:The major snowfall of the season left the entire Kashmir blanketed in varying depths even as air traffic remained suspended while Jammu-Srinagar and Mughal road remained closed.

Snowfall began early on Sunday morning in most parts of Kashmir and continued throughout the night with large swathes of south Kashmir receiving more snowfall than north and central parts of the Valley, the officials said. Sporadic snowfall continued on Monday even as the weatherman predicted it will get heavier till January 6 and urged people against venturing out of their homes unless necessary.

“As predicted earlier, heavy to very heavy snowfall /rain is most likely to occur in Jammu and Kashmir from tonight (January 4) till 6th forenoon,” Director Meteorological department here said. The snowfall, he said, may affect surface and air transportation. He said people need to avoid venturing out if avoidable. The Director said that there will be a significant improvement from January 6 onwards.

The snowfall badly affected routines and hit travel across the Valley even as it brought about disruptions in electricity as the concerned department officials said that nearly 80 transformers developed snag along sides with over 400 feeders.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the J&K, received snowfall of 13.4cms in the last 24 hours till 0830 hours, a MeT official told GNS.

He said Qazigund, the gateway town of Valley, recorded the highest snowfall of 52cms while Pahalgam, the famous tourist destination, and Kokernag recording 21cms and 32cms respectively.

Regarding Gulmarg, the official said that the world famous skiing resort accumulated 4cms of fresh snowfall in the last 24 hours while Kupwara recorded 3.5cms of snowfall. Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district received almost the same snow depth as Srinagar even as it’s higher reaches accumulated around 20-24cms of fresh snow.

Reports said that many interior lanes are still clogged with snow even as the divisional administration pressed men and machinery into service in the early hours of the day to clear snow from the roads.

Officials told GNS that all flights at Srinagar airport were cancelled due to low visibility. No flight could take off or arrive at the airport on January 2 either, they said. “All flights scheduled today from Srinagar have been delayed or rescheduled due to bad weather,” the official said.

They said that the Jammu-Srinagar highway, and Mughal road, connecting Shopian and Poonch districts, also remained closed due to the snowfall. Srinagar-Leh highway has been officially closed on the orders by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on December 30.

Jammu-Srinagar highway, only road link connecting Kashmir Valley with the outside world, shall be closed for traffic on Tuesday also due to the accumulation of snow around 2.5 kilometer Jawahar Tunnel, they said.

“On January 5, no vehicular movement shall be allowed on Jammu-Srinagar Highway from Jammu towards Srinagar and vice-versa in view o the snow accumulation around the Jawahar Tunnel and inclement weather prediction issued by the MeT department in J&K for next few days,” a traffic department official told GNS.

Meanwhile, Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.9 °C while mercury settled at minus 6.7°C in Pahalgam, minus 5.0°C in Gulmarg, Qazigund minus 0.3°C, Kupwara minus 0.3 °C while Kokernag recorded a low of minus 1.4°C, the official said.

Kashmir is in the middle Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day winter period which commenced on December 21 and ends on January 31. The period is considered the harshest of the winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum.

The cold wave, however, continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).