After enjoying a pleasant winter so far, people in north India will soon have to brace for a chilling season ahead, with the meteorological department forecasting heavy rains and fog in most parts of the region and snowfall in J&K and Himachal Pradesh.
The cold weather over the past week claimed the lives of four persons, including a newborn in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district and one in Bikaner, Rajasthan.
While people in the northern states wondered what lay in store in the weeks ahead, there was a small community whose hearts were warmed at the prospect of snow – those in the tourism sector in Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir. That’s because the snow draws tourists in large numbers from other parts of the country, particularly on New Year’s eve.
According to the met department, popular tourist towns in Himachal such as Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Kalpa, Dalhousie and Manali are likely to have light to moderate snowfall.
Shimla met office director Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday that heavy rain and snowfall were likely at some places for at least three days from December 29 or December 30. These would be due to the western disturbances or storm systems originating from the Caspian Sea and moving across Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Lucknow met director JP Gupta said, “The cloudy day and overcast conditions are about to settle in Uttar Pradesh. Foggy days are fast approaching and it is just a matter of time before rains lash Lucknow.” The plummeting temperature affected winter schooling in Kashmir, with attendance witnessing a dip on Tuesday. “...There was only 30% attendance in the school,” said a teacher at Magam high school in north Kashmir.
(With inputs from Jaipur & Chandigarh)