Heavy rain wreaks havoc in Jammu, create flood-like situation
Traffic on the Jammu–Srinagar national highway was suspended, while authorities ordered the closure of schools in Doda and Kishtwar districts as heavy rains lashed the Jammu region, creating a flood-like situation at many places, officials said on Wednesday (July 19).
The officials said rivers and rivulets in many places, especially in Kathua and Samba districts, have reached close to or crossed the flood alert level. The weather office has predicted more rain in the region.
Heavy rains lashed wide parts of Jammu division overnight, triggering mudslides and landslides at several places along the Jammu–Srinagar national highway in Ramban district, forcing authorities to suspend traffic, the officials said.
“The highway is still blocked and people are advised not to travel till the restoration work is completed,” a traffic department official said. The officials said the traffic on the Jammu–Pathankot highway was also diverted in Kathua district, where two pillars of a bridge suffered damages due to flash floods in Tarnah nallah.
All government and private schools were closed for the day in Doda and Kishtwar districts as a precautionary measure. The decision was taken for the safety of the students as the water level in the Chenab and its tributaries is on the rise amid continuous rainfall, the officials said.
Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine, received 315.4 mm rainfall, an all time high, a spokesperson of the meteorological department said. “This is the heaviest rainfall since 1980,” he said.
The chopper and battery car service at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills in Reasi district was also suspended due to the inclement weather, the officials said. While the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage is going on smoothly, the new battery car track to the shrine was closed in view of the apprehension of shooting of stones and landslide, the officials said.
They said the helicopter service to the shrine was also suspended due to inclement weather. Rivers and rivulets in many places, especially in Kathua and Samba districts, have reached close to or crossed the flood alert level with the weather office predicting more rains till noon. “The flood situation is grim in Kathua and Samba as all the rivers including Ujh in Kathua and Basantar have crossed flood alert mark, while the water level in Tawi, Chenab and its tributaries in Jammu are nearing the flood alert level,” an official said.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted widespread to fairly widespread rainfall in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir over the next seven days. Mohinder Singh, head of IMD Centre Jammu, said that the Union Territory would receive widespread to fairly widespread rainfall in the coming week. “There was heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir. The highest amount of rainfall occurred in the Katra belt of Reasi district,” he said. “The recorded rainfall in Katra was 315.4 mm, categorised as extremely heavy,” Singh said.
This is the highest recorded rainfall in the region in 43 years, he said.
The IMD official advised the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to adhere to the guidelines provided at their respective base camps. “They should follow the weather reports and advisories of the administration before undertaking the yatra,” he said. The IMD has also predicted the possibility of flash floods in low-lying areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
In an advisory, the police said that due to continuous heavy rainfall, the Chadwal bridge on the Jammu–Pathankot national highway has been closed for traffic. “Dear residents and passengers of Kathua. Due to the recent and continuous heavy rains in the area, we are sorry to inform you that the Chadwal bridge has been damaged. In consequence, this creates a potential threat to all vehicles and pedestrians trying to cross it,” the advisory said.
Floods in Taranah nallah caused damages to the pillars of the bridge resulting in its slight sinking, it said. “Please follow diversion and temporary routes. These routes are designed to facilitate smooth traffic flow and reduce discomfort,” the police advisory said.
Police also asked the people to report suspicious activities. “If you see any suspicious activities on the roads or encounter potential threats, please inform the nearest police station immediately,” the advisory said.
(With agency inputs)