Heavy rains lashed parts of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, triggering flash floods and landslides that blocked the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway with hundreds of vehicles stranded, and prompted authorities to shut schools in Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts.
A non-fatal 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-kilometre 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 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.
Besides Doda, the deputy commissioners of Ramban and Kishtwar districts have also ordered the closure of all educational institutions up to higher secondary level including private schools for the day, an official said.
"All schools across Ramban district, including higher secondary schools, shall remain closed today in view of the heavy rainfall and overflowing of nallahs and mudslides at several locations," Deputy Commissioner Ramban Mussarat Islam said in a tweet.
Officials said one kutcha house in Dachhan collapsed but all is occupants were safe.
The high-altitude areas, meanwhile, have witnessed snowfall triggering cold wave conditions, according to officials.
"The decision was taken in view of heavy rainfall resulting in flash floods and mudslides beside there was warning related to adverse weather with indication of another spell of heavy rainfall during the day today which may lead to landslides and shooting stones," said ADC Bhadarwah Dil Mir Choudhary.
"As a part of advisory in view of hostile weather condition and reports submitted by tehsildars, I have directed CEO Kishtwar to close all educational institutions in Kishtwar today. We will assess the situation later in the day for further decision," said district development commissioner (Kishtwar), Ashok Sharma.
"As of now, there is no report of any damage from any part of the district," the DDC said.
The deputy commissioners of these districts have issued advisories asking people to remain indoors in view of flood-like situation developed in the mountainous belts.
Heavy rains continue to lash the plains of the Jammu region, bringing the temperature down, officials said.
According to a weather office forecast, heavy rain is predicted in Kishtwar district which may cause temporary disruption of air and surface traffic mainly on the national highway and hilly roads, besides land landslides and shooting stones in vulnerable spots of highway, according to the advisory issued by the district administration.
"District police Kishtwar has established a help desk and people are advised to stay at home and not to venture out of their home unnecessarily," it said.
In its advisory, the Doda district administration asked people to remain careful of slides and slips on the roads due to heavy rains and it being a hilly terrain.
"Public at large is advised not to venture out and avoid unnecessary travel by road. All people residing in slide-prone areas are advised to remain vigilant and report any mishap to the administration," the advisory said.
The administration has also declared high alert in several areas in the mountainous Doda district.
"As a precautionary measure 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 district administrations have also issued helpline numbers for public in case of any emergency.