Snow continues in Himachal, grounds commuters

Snow continues in Himachal, grounds commuters

There was moderate to heavy snowfall at many places in Himachal Pradesh for the second day Sunday, hampering traffic on roads, specially in upper Shimla and Manali areas.

Capital city Shimla saw the day's minimum temperature recorded barely above the freezing point at 0.4 degree Celsius, the season's lowest.

The picturesque Kalpa, some 250 km from here, was the coldest town in the state with a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius. It saw more than one foot of snowfall.

"Kufri and its nearby areas received more than one foot of snow," an official of the meteorological office here told IANS.

Narkanda, a popular holiday spot some 65 km from here, received  more than two feet snow in the past two days.

Connectivity on the Kullu-Manali National Highway No.21 (NH-21) remained snapped near Patlikuhl, some 20 km before Manali, the official said.

Likewise, vehicular movement beyond Dhalli, 10 km from here, remained suspended since a large stretch of the Hindustan-Tibet Road was under a thick blanket of snow.

The entire Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kotkhai, Kumarsain, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal have been cut off from the rest of the state, a government official said.

Buses from Shimla to Rampur were plying via Mashobra. The internal roads in the tourist resorts of Shimla and Manali were too slippery for traffic as these were laden with snow.

Although the Shimla Municipal Corporation has cleared the snow on Cart Road and some VIP roads, most of the other roads have not been cleared yet.

Most towns, including Shimla, Kalpa, Manali and Kullu, have been plunged into darkness because transmission lines have snapped under the weight of wet snow.

Even the supply of water whs been affected as pipes have burst at places.
Other hill stations like Kasauli, Barog and Solan experienced rainfall.
More than 600 tourists, bound for the Rohtang Pass in upper Manali, were rescued, officials said.

Eighteen people were, however, still stranded and provided accommodation at Marhi, 35 km from Manali, Sub District Magistrate Vinay Dhiman told IANS over phone.

According to the Met Office, some areas in Shimla recorded more than half a foot of snow in the past 24 hours. It also recorded 54.4 mm rain.

In Manali, which had more than two feet of snow, mercury slid to the freezing point while in Dharamsala the temperature was 5.4 degrees Celsius.

"Some areas in Kullu district witnessed heavy snowfall, while Kullu, Sirmaur and Solan districts saw heavy rainfall," a weatherman said.

The Met department's forecast said western disturbances - a storm system originating from the Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region - would start withdrawing Monday and there would be no rain and snow thereafter.

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