Intense cold conditions prevailed across Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday after continuous snowfall in the higher reaches and heavy rains in the plains. The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir to the rest of the country, remained closed for the second day following landslides and snowfall and reports of an avalanche that hit the Jawahar Tunnel area.

The highway is the lifeline of Kashmir valley as all essential supplies are routed through this road.

The weather conditions have forced closure of many roads including the Jammu-Kishtwar Highway and Doda-Assar road.

There was continuous snowfall along the Banihal-Qazigund stretch where an avalanche struck Jawahar Tunnel area around 4.25 am, blocking both tubes on the Qazigund side, weather officials said.

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According to the traffic department, landslides have hit the strategic highway at some places in Ramban district, including Digdol, Panthal, Magarkote and Khoni Nallah, and the clearance operation is likely to start once the weather improves.

“There has been fresh snowfall in Bannihal sector. Incessant rains are continuing in other parts of the highway. This is the second consecutive day of the highway remaining closed. No vehicular movement will be allowed on the highway today. Landslide clearance will be started only after the weather improves,” an IANS report quoted a traffic official as saying.

Higher reaches have reported snow accumulation of 1-5 feet. District authorities have advised people to avoid slopes due to threat of avalanches and clear accumulated snow from rooftops.

Schools were closed for the day in Kathua and Udhampur districts as a precautionary measure.

There were two inches of snowfall at the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi on the Trikota hills.

The weather department had predicted significant improvement in the weather from Wednesday.

Meanwhile, heavy rains continued to lash Jammu and other plains on Tuesday, as a result of which day temperature dipped several degrees below normal.

The minimum temperature in Jammu settled at 8.7 degrees Celsius compared to the previous night’s 11.9 degrees, while the maximum dropped to 13.2 degrees Celsius, 5.6 degrees below normal.

Banihal and Batote witnessed sub-zero night temperature at minus 0.1 and minus 2.1 degrees Celsius, respectively, while Bhaderwah town in Doda district recorded a low of minus 0.2 degrees Celsius.