The ‘queen of hills’ and its adjoining tourist hotspots Kufri and Narkanda, and the higher reaches of the state woke up to a ‘white’ Valentine’s Day on Friday, as snow blanketed these areas.
The snow brought cheer to the tourists, who made a beeline for the city to keep a date with the snow, especially considering the long weekend marking the birth anniversary of guru Ravidass on Friday. In the last 10 years, this is the third Valentine’s Day which has witnessed snowfall, with snowflakes gliding down in 2007 and 2008.
Life thrown out of gear
The intermittent snowfall was accompanied by high-velocity winds in various parts of the state, disrupting life and brining vehicular traffic in various parts to a halt.
The stretch of National Highway-22 beyond Kufri (18 km from here) was closed due to heavy snowfall in the higher reaches, after which traffic to Rampur was diverted via the Basantpur-Kingal Road.
Narkanda, 65 km from here, had received more than 1ft snow.
The Manali-Rohtang-Leh highway was closed for traffic beyond Manali, and the state highway connecting Shimla with Theog, Kotkhai, Jubbal, Narkanda, Nerwa Chopal were closed due to heavy snowfall.
A Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) official said 46 routes in the upper Shimla area had been disrupted, while buses to Rampur were being routed via Basantpur-Kingal.
Kinnaur deputy commissioner JM Pathania told HT over the telephone that Reckong Peo had received more than 2ft snow.
“Heavy snow, which has been continuing since Thursday evening, has disrupted vehicular traffic across the district. People of the district have been advised to remain indoors,” he said, adding that machinery had been deployed to clear roads.
Lahaul-Spiti DC Bir Singh Thakur said the administrative machinery was “on alert” in the wake of the forecast of heavy snowfall.
“Till Friday afternoon, 10cm snow was recorded, and the administration is on alert to meet any eventuality,” he added.
An official of the meteorological department said Moorang in Kinnaur district recorded 100cm snow, while Saluni received 25 cm, Bharmaur, Kalpa and Manali 18 cm each, Bijahi 15 cm, Keylong and Chatrarri 12 cm, Tissa 10 cm and Theog 9 cm.
Tourist destination Manali received 18 cm snow over 24 hours. The lower-altitude areas were drenched by rain, with Jubbal receiving 80.2 mm, Dharamshala 31 mm, Gohar 27 mm, Kheri 25 mm, Nahan and Dharmpur 23 mm, Baijnath 22 mm, and Gaggal, Seobagh, Tinder, Joginder Nagar and Bhuntar recording 21 mm each.
The minimum temperature witnessed an increase of 1 to 2 degrees. State capital Shimla recorded a low of 1° Celsius, while Sundernagar recorded a minimum of 7.3° Celsius, Bhuntar 4° Celsius and Dharmshala 6.4° Celsius.
Keylong was the coldest at minus 11.7° Celsius, followed by Kalpa in Kinnaur at minus 2.8° Celsius, Manali at minus 1° Celsius and Dalhousie of Chamba district with minus 1.8° Celsius.
The weather department has forecast more snow and rain in the next 24 hours across the state.