Himalayas- heavy snowfall, passes and roads blocked

Shimla, December 14
Widespread heavy snowfall overnight blocked roads and disrupted power supply in many places throwing normal life out of gear in the higher and mid-hill areas of the state.

Shimla, Kullu and Kinnaur districts experienced the heaviest snowfall of the season with Solang nullah and higher areas up to Rohtang Pass recording 90 cm to 110 cm of snow.

The Churdhar, the Hatu peak and other higher ranges were also covered with a thick white blanket.

Narkanda and Kharapathar had 20 to 30 cm of snow while Manali and Tissa had 20 cm each. The city also had its first substantial snowfall and Jakhu, the highest peak, wore an impeccable white mantle in the morning after receiving 10 cm of snow. Temperature dipped to the freezing point for the first time in the season. Keylong and Udaipur in Lahaul- Spiti recorded 12 cm of snow each, Kalpa 8 cm and Theog 5 cm.

The Rohru, Chopal, Thanedar, Baghi other areas remained cut off as snow blocked roads. However, the India-Tibet Road was opened for traffic by the evening.

Residents of affected areas had to go without essential commodities. Bus services were also discontinued due to slippery road conditions.

The lower hill areas had widespread rain with Dharamsala recording 38 mm of rain, Jubbal, Bangana and Rajgarh (24 mm each), Seobagh (23mm), Ghamroor (23 mm), Gohar (20), Una, Baijnath and Nagrota Suriyan (19 mm each), Nadaun, Sujanpur Tihra, Dehra Gopipur and Jogindernagar (18 mm each), Gaggal (17 mm), Nurpur, Palampur, Mehre and Amb (16 mm each), Renuka and Kandaghat (15 mm each), Dharampur (14 mm), Guler, Hamirpur, Bhuntar, Sangrah and Solan (13 mm each).

In charge of the local Met Department Manmohan Singh said the current spell of inclement weather is likely to continue with another Western Disturbance is approaching the region around December 16. However, its impact will be mainly confined to higher hill areas.

The widespread snow has brought cheer to apple growers as it is considered as white manure for orchards. The rain is beneficial for the rabi crop, particularly in areas where sowing had been delayed due to the dry spell.

MANALI: The tourist town of Manali and its surrounding areas experienced a fresh spell of snowfall today while the lower parts of the region were lashed by rain, continuing the cold wave conditions in the region. The region received season’s second snowfall today.

The sun shone this afternoon and tourists and local residents got a respite from the severe cold conditions.

The entire upper areas of the Manali region were covered with a white blanket.

The vehicular traffic on the Manali-Rohtang Pass was disrupted at several points beyond the Nehru Kund, 5 km from here.

Tourists and local residents had a difficult time this morning driving their vehicles further to Solang and Kothi due to fresh layer of snow on the road. Tourists going to the Solang valley had to stop at different places between Bahang and the Nehru Kund.

After the fresh spell of snowfall in the upper Manali region, the HRTC suspended its bus services between Manali-Solang and Kothi.

The ski slopes of the Solang valley also got a fresh spell of snow. The snowfall on the ski slopes brought cheer to winter sports lovers as now these slopes had enough snow for their skiing.

The 13,050-ft-high Rohtang Pass, the gateway To the Lahaul-Spiti valley, also experienced heavy snowfall today. The entire higher reaches in the Kullu valley also experienced moderate to heavy snowfall.

However, orchardists and agriculturists in the region have welcomed the snow and rain. They said it was beneficial for the apple crop in upper areas and the standing crops in the lower region.

DALHOUSIE: Dalhousie hill station today received 10 cm of snow while the higher reaches of Dalhousie had 30 centimeters of snow, said reports received here today.

The reports said the Saach Pass, situated at an altitude of 4,413 m, had been closed due to snowfall continuing since last night and the far-flung Pangi tribal valley had been cut off from the rest of the district, adding that the pass was the gateway which directly links the mountainous valley with the rest of the district.

The high-altitude passes such as Jalsu, Chobia and Kugti had also been closed owing to the heavy snowfall. The famous sacred Manimahesh lake had been covered under heavy snow, the reports stated.

The low-lying areas of the district have had widespread heavy rain. There is a sharp downfall in temperature in the entire region. As a sequel to this, the whole mountainous region is in the grip of intense cold wave.

Experts working on hydropower projects and the water resource management in the mountainous terrains of the mighty Himalayas believe that the huge deposit of heavy snowfall on the mountainous ranges of the Himalayas proves “a boon”’ for the optimum hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply schemes in the plains of the country during summers.

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