Shimla: Widespread rains across the hill state have not only doused raging forest fires but also brought the farming community something to be cheerful about, raising hopes of retrieving some returns from the crops that underwent a near six month water stress condition.
For the last 24 hours the weatherman reported 23.6 millimetres of rain at Dharamshala, 14.3 mm at Mandi, 16.8 mm at Sundernagar, 5.3 mm at Shimla, 6 mm at Kullu, 3 mm at Kalpa and 4 mm snow at Keylong.
â€œTill a fortnight ago it was a scary scenario,â€ says Rajat Chauhan, an orchardist from Kothkhai, â€œas the met office had recorded the December-February period as the hottest winter in a decade.â€ Though late, the rains will certainly help the fruit trees to overcome water deficiencies but prospects of a crop are bleak, he added.
Much to the relief of residents the wet weather brought down temperatures. Shimla recorded a high of 19 degree Celsius and a low of 6 degree Celsius. Una with 32.2 degree Celsius and a low of 12.4 degree Celsius was the hottest place. In Keylong, headquarter of tribal Lahaul the high was 11.7 and the low was 1.9, whereas at Kalpa, district headquarter of Kinnaur the low touched Zero (0) degrees Celsius.
However tourists itineraries went haywire as the cold sent most first time visitors looking for woollen clothing. Honeymooning couple Sangeeta and Rahul, after buying light woollens confessed to being caught off-guard by sudden drop in temperatures.
â€œWe came totally unprepared for this; the light chill is pleasant but it did upset our plans to go sightseeing for the day,â€ said Rahul.
The long dry spell had even stressed the drinking water storages to most townships and third day supplies had been resorted to. Municipal authorities expressed hope about the rains augmenting supplies to meet shortages.