Schools, Colleges Close, Highway Blocked After Rare April Snowfall In Jammu And Kashmir

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Residents of Srinagar woke up to rain and snowfall, which is rare in the month of April

Srinagar:  The unprecedented April snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir has triggered multiple avalanches, a flood, and forced authorities to shut down schools and the Jammu Srinagar national highway.

Two soldiers were rescued but three remain missing as an army picket in Batalik sector in Ladakh got buried in an avalanche. A search is on for them and specially trained avalanche rescue teams have been employed, the Northern Command has said.  

The administration has issued a flood alert in the Kashmir Valley after the Jhelum river started flowing above the danger mark. Many low-lying areas in Srinagar have been flooded.

A senior official of the Irrigation and Flood control Department, Mohammad Hanif Lone, told NDTV that the "Water level at Ram Munhsi Bagh in Srinagar has crossed 19 ft.  18.3 ft is the limit after which flood is declared".

The flood has raised concerns about the by-elections in Srinagar and Anantnag parliamentary constituencies, slated to be held on April 9 and 12. The Election Commission said holding the election will depend on weather conditions, because many polling stations have been inundated.

"Right now, at a few collection and distribution centres from where we dispatch our polling parties there is lot of water. Once the weather improves they will drain out the water... but if it continues to rain like this for the next two days, then we will have to take a call," said Shantamanu, the Chief Electoral Officer of the state.

Snow and rain over the last three days have forced the state government to close schools in the valley till Sunday. The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway had to be shut due to landslides.

This morning, the residents of Srinagar woke up to rain and snowfall, which is rare in the month of April.  The weather department officials have predicted moderate to heavy snowfall in higher reaches of the valley.

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