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Himachal Pradesh winter beats 25-year records

Snowfall in the state was heavy during the fourth spell from January 24 to January 26. Kothi in Lahaul Spiti recorded the highest 88 centimetres of snow.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2019 07:41 IST
Himachal Pradesh's famed tourist place Shimla in Kullu district witnessed a fresh spell of snow, taking the temperature to minus on Wednesday.(ANI)

This winter has been the harshest and the wettest one in Himachal Pradesh in a quarter of a century. The hill state experienced 13 spells of snow and a 43% increase in rainfall in January and February over the normal average, triggering avalanches, damaging roads and disrupting electricity supplies. The abundance of rain and snow has, however, delighted farmers.

“Rain in Himachal this winter has been unusually high. The average rainfall received over the state is 280.30 millimetres, which is 43% higher than the average normal rainfall,” said Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological department. Rainfall in the state was 12% deficient in January. In February, the deficit was more than made up, with the state experiencing 194.10 mm of rain, 93% more than the normal average.

“On most of the days, minimum temperature during this winter period was 2 to 4 degrees Celsius below normal. During the season, the lowest minimum temperature was recorded at Keylong — minus 17.0 degree Celsius, “ said Manmohan Singh.

Snowfall in the state was heavy during the fourth spell from January 24 to January 26. Kothi in Lahaul Spiti recorded the highest 88 centimetres of snow. Bharmour in Chamba district recorded 105 centimetres of snow, the highest during a two-day spell on February 7 and 8.

Heavy rain and snow damaged roads and disrupted electricity supplies that caused a loss of ₹355 crore by the government’s count.

Experts say the snow will be beneficial to crops and for hydropower generation in the state as the thawing of glaciers that feeds Himalayan rivers. Snowfall had been scanty last year, resulting in a water shortage. The state capital Shimla faced its worst water crisis last year. Farmers across the state are elated.

“This snowfall has given a fresh lease of life to apple growers, particularly in the lower elevations. I had seriously started looking at alternatives such as citrus plants and pomegranate,” said Lokinder Singh, an apple grower.

First Published: Mar 02, 2019 07:41 IST