Chill back in the hills as mercury dips after snow, rain in Himachal
The prolonged dry spell was finally broken on Monday when the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh experienced snowfall and the middle and low hills got moderate rainfall.
Keylong, the administrative headquarters of tribal Lahaul and Spiti district, witnessed 9cm of snowfall, Udaipur 26cm, Gondla 15cm and Hansa 5cm snow. The Atal Tunnel, Rohtang has been closed for tourists after heavy snowfall on its north portal. Meanwhile, the tourist resort of Manali recorded the highest rainfall of 30mm.
“More rain and snow are likely in the state over the next two days as a western disturbance is active over the region,” said Shimla meteorological centre director Manmohan Singh.
Seohbag in Kullu recorded 19.2mm of rain and Mandi and Dalhousie got 10.1mm and 10mm of rain, respectively. Sundernagar received 8.2mm of rain, Shimla 5.2mm, Palampur 3.4mm and Dharamshala 3.4mm, respectively.
Shimla cold at 8 degrees, Dalhousie at 5.2
Keylong was the coldest place in the state, where the minimum temperature fell to minus 0.2 degrees Celsius, followed by 1.7 degrees in Kufri and 2.6 degrees Celsius in Kalpa.
State capital Shimla was cold at 8 degrees Celsius.
“There was no appreciable change in the minimum temperatures since Sunday. The minimum temperatures were 1-2 degrees Celsius above normal,” Singh said. However, the maximum temperature dropped by 2-3 degrees Celsius.
Dalhousie experienced a low of 5.2 degrees Celsius, while Manali and Palampur recorded a minimum of 11.5 degrees Celsius. Dharamshala recorded a low of 10.4 degrees Celsius.
Rain relief for wheat farmers
The rain has come as a relief for farmers, who feared losses due to the dry spell.
“The fresh rainfall is good for the Rabi crop, especially wheat. There has been a loss of 30% crop in non-irrigated areas,” said Ramesh Chaudhary a farmer in Kangra. He said if it continues to rain for two-three days, it would be enough to save the rest of the crop.
In the higher altitude areas, rains are good for the apple crop but decline in temperature could impact the blooming as cloudy weather and rains disturb natural pollination.