The Meteorological Department has warned that there will be heavy snowfall accompanied with rains for the next 72 hours in Himachal Pradesh that includes capital Shimla, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Kinnaur, Lahual Spiti & parts of Chamba.
A thick blanket of snow has completely engulfed Himachal Pradesh. The heavy snowfall in Shimla and other upper regions of Himachal has completely taken normal life off-gear in the Himalayan kingdom. Traffic, telecommunication links and supply of power and water were also disrupted while it was reported that a large number of tourists were stranded. Various essential commodities like milk and vegetables couldn’t reach Shimla while the heavy snow stagnation uprooted trees, overhead power transmission lines were snapped and disrupted the telecommunication services.
Meanwhile, traffic in Manali and upper areas has come to a complete halt, after experiencing heavy snowfall. The famous Rohtang Pass and adjoining areas were reported to be covered under 60 cm thick blanket of snow whereas, the key tourist resort of Manali and Solang Nallah experienced first heavy snowfall of the season.
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Vehicular traffic was suspended beyond Manali while traffic on Kullu-Manali link has been disrupted due to slippery road conditions and 30 HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) buses were stranded at various places in the state.
Intense cold wave conditions continued to prevail in Himachal Pradesh as the mercury dipped almost to freezing point in most parts of the Himalayan state. The high altitude tribal areas are reeling under arctic conditions with the minimum temperatures ranging between -18 to -26 degrees Celsius.
Though there has been a prevalent dry, weather conditions in Himachal, the mercury remained below normal at most places. Places like Keylong, Kalpa and Manali recorded a low of -14.8, -7.8 and -7.0 degrees Celsius respectively. Capital Shimla, Solan, Sundernagar and Bhuntar too recorded shivering temperatures at -1.4, -1.2, -1.1 and -1.0 degrees Celsius respectively.
News of water pipes freezing and bursting at many places in mid and higher hills was reported by PTI. There was also disruption of water supply, while the ground was covered with thick frost was seen in many places in higher hills, which made driving unsafe and paralysed vehicular traffic movements.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), has come out with guidelines as precautions, in order to prevent from the intense cold conditions.
— NDMA India (@ndmaindia) January 14, 2017
The Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department (MeT) office has warned of heavy rains and snow at isolated places in mid and higher hills on January 15 and 16 as another western disturbance is most likely to affect the western Himalayan region and adjoining plains.
In the meantime, electricity has been restored in most areas of Shimla, while water supply is yet to be normalised and several localities in the town did not get water for the seventh day today.
All the national highways except Luhri-Aut via Jalodi pass have been re-opened and Public Works Department (PWD) has deployed more than 12,000 labourers besides sufficient heavy machinery for the restoration of the road network, an official spokesman told PTI.