Fresh snowfall in Himachal Pradesh

March 21st, 2009 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Shimla, March 21 (IANS) There was moderate to heavy snowfall at many places in Himachal Pradesh early Saturday, the meteorological office said here.
“Kufri and its nearby areas received 1-3 cm of snowfall this morning (Saturday). This (snowfall) was after a gap of more than one month,” Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office in Shimla, told IANS.

Kufri, a popular holiday spot 2,510 metres above sea level, is known as a honeymooner’s paradise.

Other popular spots Narkanda, 65 km from Shimla, and the Solang valley and Marhi near Manali experienced moderate snowfall.

Singh said Kalpa in Kinnaur district and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district received 4 cm and 16 cm of snowfall respectively.

“The entire tribal belt in Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Chamba district witnessed moderate to heavy snowfall during the past 24 hours,” he said.

Lower areas of the state including Dharamsala, Shimla, Solan, Nahan and Mandi received moderate to heavy rain, bringing the temperature down considerably.

The maximum rain was recorded in Shimla (30 mm), an the minimum temperature fell to 3.5 degrees Celsius from Friday’s 10 degrees.

Kalpa was the coldest place in the state with a minimum temperature of minus 2.5 degrees Celsius followed by Keylong (minus 0.1).

The snowfall and rain have cheered farmers and hoteliers in the region.

“The prolonged dry spell in the mid-hills is finally over. This spell (of snow) is good for the apple, peach, plum, apricot and almond crops,” said P.S. Chauhan, a horticulture expert at the Solan-based Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.

He said negligible or total lack of snowfall and rain in most fruit-growing areas of the state after December had reduced the moisture content in the soil.

“Most of the fruit-growing areas in Kullu and Mandi district have been experiencing a long dry weather spell. Even in Shimla district, Saturday’s snow is not enough to maintain sufficient moisture content of the soil till the flowering season for apple crop (April-May),” he said.

The meteorological office said the Kothgarh-Thanedar belt in Shimla district, Karsog belt in Mandi district and the Kullu valley would have chances of good snowfall in the next 48 hours.

Tourism industry representatives are also happy after the snow in nearby areas of Shimla and Manali.

“We are now hopeful that the good spell of snow will attract the tourists back in the days to come,” said Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp general manager Yogesh Behl.

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