Srinagar/Shimla/Dehradun, Nov 3 (PTI) Heavy rain and snowfall lashed Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Uttarakhand on Saturday due to western disturbance, bringing down the mercury in the hill states.

Surface and air links between the Kashmir Valley and rest of the country were snapped while Srinagar witnessed snowfall in November for the first time since 2009.

“In the last two decades, it was only the fourth time that it has snowed in Srinagar in November with 2009, 2008 and 2004 being the earlier instances,” an official of the MeT Department said.

Reports of heavy snowfall were received from other district headquarters and major towns of the Valley as well, officials said, adding that it continued to snow in the higher reaches of Kashmir for the second day, triggering avalanches in some parts of Gurez in Bandipora district.

A spokesman of the Traffic Department said the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the arterial road connecting the valley with rest of the country, has been closed for vehicular traffic due to heavy snowfall.

Operations at Srinagar international airport stopped with several late afternoon and evening flights cancelled.

The snowfall has set in cold wave like conditions in the Valley. All weather stations across the valley Friday witnessed a drop of around 10 degrees Celsius from the normal day temperatures for this time of the year. The weatherman has forecast more downpour over the next 24 hours but predicted a dry period of two to three weeks from November 5.

Over 120 persons, mostly truckers, were rescued from Peer Ki Gali along the Mughal road where over three feet of snow had accumulated in the stretch connecting the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu with south Kashmir Shopian.

Maximum temperatures were markedly below normal ( 5.1 degree Celsius or less) at a few places over Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh and at isolated places in Uttarakhand.

The temperature in Himachal Pradesh dipped as Kalpa in tribal Kinnaur district received 16 cm of snowfall whereas several other parts including state capital Shimla experienced rainfall on Saturday, the meteorological department said.

The minimum temperatures were decreased by 2 to 3 degree Celsius whereas the maximum temperatures were recorded 6 to 7 degree Celsius below normal during the last 24 hours, Director of Shimla Meteorological Centre Manmohan Singh said.

The lowest temperature in the state was recorded in Keylong of Lahaul and Spiti district as -1.3 degree Celsius whereas the highest temperature was recorded in Una as 25 degree Celsius.

Reckong Peo received 20 mm rain, followed by Rampur 17 mm, Annu, Chopal and Moorang 10 mm each, Fagu and Kukumsari 14 mm each, Kufri 11 mm, Shimla 10 mm and Chhaila and Rohru received 9 mm rain Saturday, he added.

There was fresh snowfall in higher reaches of Uttarakhand — Badrinath (one inch), Kedarnath (2.5 inches), Yamunotri (2 inches) and Gangotri (2 inches)– while the plains received scattered rains.

Kedarnath recorded a low of -6 degree Celsius.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.