Heavy snowfall in Himachal hits road traffic, power supply

Two national highways among 314 roads closed, power and water supply affected in Shimla, Chamba, Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts
A woman carries water through a snow-covered road in Kaza village of Spiti valley in Himachal on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
A woman carries water through a snow-covered road in Kaza village of Spiti valley in Himachal on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 06, 2022 02:45 AM IST
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By, Dharamshala

Heavy snowfall in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh since Tuesday night has brought life to a standstill in the remote areas of tribal Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Kullu and Shimla districts.

A total of 248 roads, including two national highways, a state highway and the Rohtang tunnel, have been blocked for traffic due to inclement weather.

Maximum 137 roads are closed in Lahaul and Spiti district. Atal Tunnel at Rohtang Pass has been closed after a foot of snow was recorded at the North Portal, Sudesh Kumar Mokhta, the director of state disaster management authority, said.

The 3,978m Rohtang Pass has got more than four feet of snow. Multhan in Kangra, Prasher Lake in Mandi and Rakchham in Kinnaur also got 1ft of snow each that is still continuing.

Sangla got 10 inches of snow, while Chanshal, Kalpa, Gulaba and Shikari got 8 inches each. Solang near Manali got 7 inches of snow, Jalori Jot 6 inches, Koksar and Sissu 5 inches each, Dodra Kwar 3 inches and Pangi valley 2.5 inches.

Triund, the trekkers’ destination above Dharamshala, also received snow, while the Dhauladhar Range wore a white mantle.

Shimla SP Monika Bhutungru said the road from Kufri to Fagu has been completely blocked due to snowfall. People travelling between Shimla and Theog may use the Bhekhalti-Mashobra route. We suggest to avoid unnecessary travel during night time, she said.

More than 160 transformers, including nearly 66 in Chamba, were hit due to the snowfall, causing the suspension of power supply in the remote areas. At least 39 water supply schemes, 32 in Chamba alone, have also been affected.

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur has urged tourists and local residents to avoid travelling to snowbound areas. He said the departments concerned are working to restore water and power supply besides reopening roads in the affected areas at earliest.

Rain in Manali and Dalhousie; Keylong coldest in state

The middle and lower hills experienced moderate to heavy rainfall.

Dalhousie got 41mm of rainfall, Manali 40mm, Bhunter 32mm, Palampur 24.6mm, Dharamshala and Chamba 20mm each, Mandi 12.2mm and Shimla 11.6mm.

The fresh spell of snow has led to maximum temperatures falling by several degrees. The minimum temperatures were 3-4 degrees above normal.

Keylong was the coldest place in the state with a night temperature of minus 3.1°C followed by minus 1°C in Kufri. Kalpa recorded a low of minus 0.6°C, while the minimum temperature in Manali was 1.2 °C and Dalhousie 1.3°C.

The meteorological department has issued a ‘yellow’ alert for heavy rain and snowfall over the weekend.

“Heavy snowfall is likely in the districts of Chamba, Kangra, Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur and heavy rainfall is expected in Una, Hamirpur and Bilaspur on January 8 and 9,” said Shimla MeT centre director Surender Paul.

It may cause disruptions of essential services like water and electricity supply and communications, he said, adding the low visibility conditions would prevail and there is also possibility of landslides in the hilly regions.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Naresh K Thakur is a staff reporter in Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. Based at Dharamshala, he covers Tibetan affairs, local politics and environmental issues.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022