Fresh snowfall and intermittent rain threw life in the state out of gear with several roads leading to high altitude areas blocked and power supply disrupted, particularly in the tribal district of Kinnaur. The snowfall started in higher altitude areas early on Friday morning and the lower hills received moderate rainfall. Hilly areas in Shimla, Kinnaur and Kullu districts also experienced a fresh spell of snow while several other areas in the state were lashed with showers.
In Kinnaur district Kalpa received over 55 cm of snowfall during the past 24 hours while the higher reaches at the Rohtang pass received 65 cm of snow. Keylong in Lahaul & Spiti district recorded 50 cm of snow in the past 24 hours. Snow disrupted vehicular traffic in Kinnaur and blocked almost every road leading to rural areas in the higher hills. Power supply snapped even in mid-altitude areas of Kinnaur including Bhawanagar.
Heavy snow in Lahaul & Spiti disrupted power supply in several areas. Spiti valley, where supply was restored only a few days back after a long outage lasting ten days, was again left in the dark due to faulty power lines from Kinnaur.
In Shimla, where the sky remained overcast with high velocity winds sweeping the city, about 4 cm of snow and 25 mm of rain was recorded. A fresh spell of snow led to lower temperatures with the minimum recorded at 3.2 degrees Celsius while Keylong recorded a minimum with (-)0.6 degrees. The maximum temperature has also decreased by 1 to 2 degrees.
In Shimla district vehicular traffic was disrupted on roads leading to Narkanda, Kotkhai, Rohru and Chopal. Till noon traffic was disrupted on alternate route to Rampur via Basantpur. Traffic on the national highway connecting Shimla to Kinnaur was disrupted at Fagu and Narkanda and intermittent snow also halted the administration's efforts to restore traffic flow.
The Himachal Road Transport Corporation rerouted its buses to Rampur via Basantpur. The road leading to Rohru was blocked at Kharapathar while the Chopal road was blocked at Khidki. All apple growing areas including Baghi Ratnari, Kotkhai, Rohru, Khadrala, Kotgarh, Chopal and Narkanda received heavy snow.
Tourists reveled as Manali recorded 20 cm of snowfall during the past 24 hours with minimum temperature falling to -1.6 degrees C. Kalpa was the coldest at -5.4 degrees.
The Shimla meteorological centre has forecast snow at isolated places in higher altitude areas while dry weather is predicted in lower and mid hills. “Fresh western disturbances will hit the region from February 24 onwards and more rain and snow is expected after that,” Met director Manmohan Singh said.