6 inches of snow on Manali-leh highway disrupts traffic, tourists in a fix
More than 100 vehicles were stranded on the busy Manali-Leh highway on Monday after the Rohtang Pass, the gateway to Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district, experienced unexpected snowfall.
Traffic on the busy highway came to a halt after Rohtang received six inches of snowfall hitting several passengers on their way to Lahaul-Spiti and Manali.
Officials said the stranded passengers were evacuated safely and that the administration is regulating the traffic to avoid any chaotic situation in Rohtang.
“A snow clearance team, both men and machinery, has been deployed at Rani Nullah to clear the snow. Traffic has been closed due to the snowfall. It is still intermittently snowing in the region,” the commander of 38 Border Road Task Force, Uma Shankar, said.
The district administration has instructed its officials deployed in Gulaba barrier and Marhi to be on high alert and also advised people and tourists to avoid venturing towards Lahaul-Spiti and Manali till the situation gets normal.
Snowfall in the higher reaches of the state has also led to a drop in the temperature by a few notches. The sky remained cloudy in most parts of the state on Monday with light snowfall and rainfall occurring at isolated places.
“Snowfall in Rohtang has occurred due to a western disturbance. Light snowfall is very likely to continue in Rohtang Pass for the next two days,” the director of Meteorological department, Manmohan Singh, said.
The 13,050-feet Rohtang Pass had witnessed snowfall on September 29. Last year, the region had witnessed its first heavy snowfall in mid-September.
Manali is witnessing a heavy rush of tourists, most of whom visit the Rohtang Pass, due to the Dussehra holidays. Rohtang, known for its snow-clad glaciers, scenic beauty and adventure sports, is one of the favourite tourist destinations in the Kullu Valley.
The maximum temperature in the state dropped by two to three degrees Celsius while the minimum temperature was one to two degrees above normal.
The maximum temperature in prominent tourists’ destination of Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala and Dalhousie was recorded at 22.6, 20.4, 23.8 and 17.5 degrees Celsius while the minimum was at 13.1, 8.4, 15.6 and 11.4 degrees Celsius respectively.
Kufri, an excursion point near Shimla, recorded a maximum temperature of 22.6 degrees Celsius and minimum temperature at 10.1 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature at Kalpa in Kinnaur district was 23.8 degrees Celsius and the minimum was 8.7 degrees Celsius.
The highest maximum temperature in the state was 30.8 degrees Celsius, which was recorded in Una, and the lowest temperature of 3.9 degrees Celsius in Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti.