Cold wave tightens grip in Himachal; heavy snow in Shimla, Kufri throws life out of gear
A fresh spell of snow in Himachal Pradesh threw life out of gear on Wednesday with 300 roads, including three national highways, closed for traffic due to slippery roads.
Shimla got 10.2cm of snowfall and recorded a low of minus 1 degree Celsius, while the nearby tourist town of Kufri got 45cm of snowfall and shivered at minus 4.4 degrees. The snow hampered traffic on the main Circular Road in Shimla, delaying the supply of daily essentials. The stretch connecting Victory Tunnel to Sanjauli was closed after snowfall overnight.
The strategic Hindustan-Tibet road that connects the forward areas along the China border in Kinnaur district and the apple belt of Shimla district also remained closed for the second day due to heavy snowfall at Kufri and Narkanda. “No vehicle is being allowed beyond Dhalli. Machines are working to clear the stretch of snow,” said Shimla superintendent of police Omapati Jamwal.
The Theog-Hatkoti road was blocked due to snowfall at Kharapathar. Police were deployed to assist stranded passengers. Khidki in Chopal also received heavy snowfall.
As many as 62 panchayats in Sirmaur district are without power for a week and several villages in the district are without water after supply lines were damaged due to the snowfall.
The Sainj-Banjar highway that connects 58 panchayats in Kullu district was closed for traffic after Jalori Pass received more than 40cm of snowfall.
MORE SNOW ON JAN 31
The tribal Bharmour and Pangi areas of Chamba district got up to 25cm of snowfall. Dalhousie received 16cm of snow and recorded a low of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius.
Pangi sub-divisional magistrate Vishurt Bharti said that men and machinery have been deployed to clear the roads and restore essential services. Several villages in Tissa sub division are also cut off. Helicopter flights to Pangi could not take off due to bad weather. More than 450 people are waiting to be airlifted from Pangi, many of them government employees. The tribal valley gets cut off from the rest of the state in winter and the helicopter is the only way travel to the region.
State meteorological department director Manmohan Singh said, “The weather will remain dry on Thursday though snow and rain are likely on January 31 and February 1 in the mid and higher hills of the state.”
Dharamshala, the winter capital of the state, got 49.6 mm of rainfall and recorded a low of 1.4 degrees Celsius.
Manali got 8cm of snowfall and recorded a low of minus 1.8 degrees Celsius. Kalpa in Kinnaur district received 26.4cm of snowfall and the minimum temperature was minus 3.5 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperatures in Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Paonta Sahib were 8, 8.2 and 7 degrees, respectively.
Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district received 10cm of snowfall and was the coldest in the state at a low of minus 5.7 degrees Celsius.
Una was the warmest place in the state with a high of 18 degrees Celsius.