Cold intensifies in the north, many cities shiver under sub-zero temperature
The snowfall is normal for this time of the year, and signals the onset of biting temperature during the winter season.Updated: Dec 13, 2019 16:06 IST
Fresh snow in several parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand led to large parts of these states being cut-off. The weather department has said the snowfall will continue till Saturday with the next round starting in the middle of next week.
The mid-December snow in these parts is normal and it ushers cold winds in the plains of India, signalling the onset of biting cold in the winter.
The snow spell in the hill states of north India started from mid-November with Srinagar and Manali getting heavy snow.
Four national highways (NH) and 110 main and arterial roads connecting villages and towns in four districts of Himachal Pradesh were cut off due to snowfall on Friday, officials said.
More than 200 vehicles were stranded after intermittent snowfall in Shimla, Kinnaur, Chamba and Sirmaur districts, officials said.
NH-305 connecting Sainj to Luhri and NH-505 from Powari to Reckong Peo were closed for traffic. NH-22, also known as the old Hindustan-Tibet road, was closed beyond Kufri, while the stretch between Theog and Hatkoti on NH-705 that leads to Uttarakhand was shut after heavy snowfall at Kharapathar in Shimla district.
“Efforts are on to clear these roads. We are hopeful that traffic will resume by Friday evening provided it does not snow heavily again,” said public works department chief engineer RK Verma.
Bus service to Rampur Bushar has been diverted via Basantpur. Several roads have also been closed in Lahaul and Spiti in Chamba district.
Kalpa in Kinnaur district received 23 cm of snowfall, while Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district got 12.5 cm of snowfall. Manali in Kullu district received 12 cm of snowfall. Kufri, Kharapathar, Narkanda and Khadrala in Shimla district also got snow, officials said.
State meteorological department director Manmohan Singh said, “Snow and rain will continue throughout the state till Saturday and in middle and higher hills of the state till Sunday after which the weather will remain dry.” The weather department has issued a yellow warning for Friday. Yellow is the least dangerous of the weather warnings that indicates the possibility of severe weather over the next few days.
In most of the locations, the minimum temperatures was one to two degrees below normal dipping below the zero degree Celsius level at many places including Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie and Dharamshala. The lowest temperature in Himachal was -3.3 degrees, recorded in Keylong, while the highest temperature in the state was 18 degrees Celsius at Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur district.
Jammu and Kashmir
The Kashmir valley woke up to a white carpet of snow on Friday as it received the third snowfall this season, causing blockade of highways and affecting commuting for the locals.
The weatherman has predicted more snow on Friday and Saturday.
While the plains of Jammu and Kashmir received moderate snowfall, the upper reaches got heavy snowfall. The shrine of Vaishno Devi in the Trikuta Hills was one of the regions in Jammu which received snowfall on Friday.
Drass and Kargil in the Union Territory of Ladakh also received heavy snowfall.
“It will snow till Friday evening. The weather will start improving from Saturday,” said Sonam Lotus, director, meteorological department, Kashmir.
“It’s snowing at the Jawahar Tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The highway has been blocked by landslides and shooting stones triggered by snow and incessant rains. The road was closed for traffic on Thursday evening,” Lotus said.
Many trucks are stranded on the highway, but they have been halted in safe zones.
The upper reaches of the state received heavy rainfall resulting road linkage in at least five of the 13 districts being blocked. There were also reports of power outages in many places in these districts.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted very heavy snowfall at places with a height of 2500m on Friday, especially in districts such as Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Bageshwar and Pithoragarh.
The department also said that rains are expected at isolated places in the state till Saturday, especially in Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh.
On Friday, very heavy snowfall is likely to occur at a few places with height 2200m and above in Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Bageshwar and Pithoragarh. Heavy snow or rainfall is likely to occur at places in Dehradun, Tehri, Nainital, Champawat and Almora districts on Friday.
Bikram Singh, regional director of Meteorological Centre in Dehradun said, “In view of the snowfall activity on Thursday and Friday, we advise the state government to put necessary logistics arrangements in place for road clearance in snow affected areas for smooth movement of tourist and local community in hills with height 2000m and above, especially in Chakrata, Mussoorie, Dhanolti, Auli, Nainital, Mukteshwar and Munsiyari areas of Uttarakhand.”