High-altitude areas in the Jammu and Kashmir regions witnessed heavy snowfall which led to closure of the Mughal Road and the Srinagar-Leh highway for vehicular traffic.
The ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir received fresh snowfall of two inches on Friday night while the day temperature in Jammu dipped by six degrees below normal, MeT officials said.
Many areas in the high-altitude areas of Kashmir witnessed fresh snowfall and the region's plains were lashed by rains, a official in Srinagar said.
Officials in Jammu said around two feet of snow had accumulated on the ground between Peer Ki Gali and Pushana, a 20-km stretch along the Mughal Road connecting Poonch district with south Kashmir's Shopian district.
The road, the alternative link between Kashmir and rest of the country, was closed after the season's first heavy snowfall in the Jammu region.
"No vehicle was allowed either from Poonch or Shopian this morning as the Mughal Road was temporarily closed for traffic due to heavy snowfall in and around Peer Ki Gali," Deputy Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Mohammad Aslam said.
He said if weather permits, the operation to clear the road would be carried out.
"The agencies concerned are ready for road clearance operation, but bad weather is hampering their efforts," the officer said, adding no vehicle was stranded on the road.
According to officials, the 300-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the all weather road between Kashmir and rest of the country, is open, but commuters have been asked to avoid night travel due to threat of landslides and shooting of stones.
Sinthan Top, along the Kishtwar-Anantnag road recorded over three feet of snow since November 15, the day when over two-month-long dry spell ended in Jammu and Kashmir.
Due to the prevailing weather conditions, both day and night temperatures plummeted in most parts of Jammu region over the past few days with the city recording a low of 11.2 degrees Celsius, an MeT office spokesperson said.
He said the minimum temperature recorded at Banihal was 4.6 degrees celsius, Bhaderwah 4.8 degrees Celsius and Batotote 5 degrees Celsius.
In the past 24 hours ending 8.30 am, Jammu witnessed 0.4 mm of rainfall, Katra received 3 mm, Banihal 2.4 mm and Batote 1.4 mm of precipitation, the spokesperson said, adding the day temperature in Jammu on Friday was 21.7 degrees celsius, six notches below normal.
Amid overcast conditions, the maximum temperature is expected to remain almost same on Saturday, he said.
The areas in Kashmir region which received snowfall include Sonamarg, Zojila and the Razdan Pass. Plains across the valley, including the summer capital Srinagar, received rains, the official said.
The highest rainfall (8.9 mm) was recorded in north Kashmir's Kupwara.
Owing to the fresh snowfall and rains, the Srinagar-Leh highway was closed for traffic, an official of the traffic department in Srinagar said.
Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 2.9 degrees Celsius, and Leh, in Ladakh region, minus 6.4 degrees Celsius, MeT officials said.
Kargil town recorded a low of minus 6 degrees Celsius. Gulmarg, which recorded the season's lowest of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius on Friday night, saw temperatures drop to minus 3.8 degrees on Saturday, the official said.
The night temperature at other places in Kashmir, except in Pahalgam, stayed above the freezing point on Friday night.
Qazigund and Kokernag towns in south Kashmir registered minimums of 4 degrees Celsius and 2.5 degrees Celsius respectively. Temperatures at the resort town of Pahalgam, a base camp for the Amarnath pilgrims, settled at a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius, the official said.
The north Kashmir town of Kupwara recorded a low of 2.6 degrees Celsius, he said.
The MeT department has forecast light rainfall or snow at isolated places in Jammu and Kashmir in the next 24 hours, following which the weather is likely to remain largely dry for a few days.
Photographs: Umar Ganie for Rediff.com