Amid continuous snowfall, 42 flights that were scheduled to operate to and fro from Srinagar international airport were cancelled on Tuesday due to poor visibility in Kashmir Valley.

Srinagar-based Airport Authority of India stated that continuous snowfall and poor visibility resulted in 42 cancellations today across all airlines. "The visibility has now improved and the flights are operating", authorities tweeted.

"The passengers of the cancelled flights shall be rescheduled in the next available flight of the concerned airlines. There will be no extra charges for rescheduling. The passengers may also opt for a full refund at their convenience,", authorities informed in another tweet.

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Omar reacts to the cancellation of flights

The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said the Srinagar International Airport lacks landing aids that enable runways to remain open when visibility dips.

"Our "international airport" has no landing aids that enable the runway to remain open when visibility dips. We make such a big deal about tourism and investment promotion now imagine the plight of those tourists who've sat all day outside the terminal &watched their flights get cancelled", Omar tweeted.

"Not to mention the locals who will have their tickets cancelled and be told to buy fresh ones with fares that touch the stratosphere. Travel in and out from the Valley in winter is not a pleasant experience", he stated in another tweet.

Weather Department issues 'orange alert' 

The MeT has issued an "orange alert" in the Kashmir Valley saying the prevailing rain and snowfall are expected to intensify in the coming days.

As per the advisory, there will be rain and snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir till January 9 and the weather system will likely cause disruptions to surface and air traffic and even trigger avalanches.

"As expected, weather is overcast in both J&K with widespread light rain/snow and moderate snow over higher reaches," an official of the MeT office said.

Snowfall in Kashmir
A man rows his boat on the frozen interiors of the Dal Lake on a cold winter morning in Srinagar January 8, 2013.

Present weather is likely to intensify as the day progresses. Expect moderate snowfall and rain in plains and heavy snowfall over higher reaches with main activity later tonight and tomorrow in both Jammu and Kashmir, weather department forecasted.

Doctors asked not to leave stations

Heath authorities on Tuesday directed all the Chief Medical Officers (CMOs), Medical Superintendents (MS), and Block Medical Officers (BMOs) not to leave their station without seeking prior permission to make sure that health care facilities don't get hampered due to snowfall.

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"In order to meet out any emergency situation that may arise due to heavy snow fall in Kashmir Division, all the Chief Medical Officers / Medical Superintendents / Block Medical Officers are hereby directed not to leave their station without seeking prior permission from this office, so as to make sure that health care facilities don't get hampered due to snowfall," reads an order by Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, Director Health Services Kashmir.

Chief Secretary reviews preparedness

Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today chaired a meeting to review the winter preparedness, supply, and stocking of essential commodities across the Kashmir Division and snowbound districts of Jammu province including Kishtwar, Doda, Poonch, and Rajouri.

Chief Secretary of J&K Dr Arun Kumar Mehta chairing a meeting to oversee the preparation for winter.
Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta reviews winter preparedness during a meeting at JammuDIPR J&K

It was informed that the divisional and district administrations have taken all precautionary measures and preparedness for the winter season with a special focus on inclement weather situations in all snow-bound areas of Jammu and Kashmir.