Heavy snow pounds tribal Himachal; residents asked to stay indoors

Shimla: Much of the high altitude tribal belt along the India-China border was pounded with a heavy snowfall over the last 24 hours, forcing the administration in Lahaul-Spiti to issue an advisory of asking residents to stay indoors as the severe cold wind accompanied by icy winds swept the landscape.

Issuing the advisory, Vir Singh Thakur, deputy commissioner Lahaul Spiti, asked people to stay indoors and not go through avalanche prone areas as the region was experiencing heavy snow.

Pigeons caught up in Lahaul snowfall

By afternoon on Tuesday, Keylong, the district headquarters, had received about 1 meter of snow. Schools that normally work in warmers areas of Lahaul valley during winters have been ordered to shut down till 6 February.

Temperatures at Kalpa, in Kinnaur, touched a low of – 3.4 degree Celsius. Residents in the small township overlooking River Satluj valley woke up to over 2 feet of overnight snow by 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday. Residents and livestock remained sheltered indoors through the day.

Rohtang Pass, which remains open for only 6 months in a year and connects Kullu valley with Lahaul, was reported to be buried beneath 2 meters of fresh snow.

Popular destinations of Manali, Kufri and Narkanda also received snow, to the delight of tourists out on a winter vacation in the hills.

Strong gale winds swept accompanied by sharp showers of rain or sleet lashed much of the lower hills.

By 8.30 on Tuesday morning  the met offices weather stations had recorded heavy rains at Tissa (121 mm), Karsog (42), Kotkhai (42), Kullu (35), Dharamshala (32), Renuka (37), Sujanpur Tira (41), Shimla (21) and several others places.

The city recorded a high temperature of 7 and a low of 2 degree Celsius.

Western disturbance as an upper cyclonic circulation persists over north Pakistan and the neighborhood, said a spokesman of the met office. It would move east, north-east wards.

The weatherman has forecast no respite from the cold wave in the next 24 hours as more snow and rain would occur at places over mid and higher reaches of the state.

The weather is expected to open up from 7 February onwards but the temperatures are likely to drop by 3 to 5 degree Celsius says the weather forecast report.

Photo credit: Prashant Sirkek

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