Severe cold in Himachal, snowfall disrupts flights (Lead)

January 15th, 2011 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Jan 15 (IANS) The hills of Himachal Pradesh Saturday experienced moderate to heavy snowfall, bringing the temperatures down considerably and disrupting air and road traffic.”Flights from Delhi to Kullu, Shimla and Dharamsala could not be operated,” an official at the airport here said.

Incessant snow also hampered vehicular traffic on the highways in Shimla, Kinnaur, Mandi and Kullu districts.

A government spokesperson said no state-run bus plied Saturday in upper Shimla due to the snow.

Shimla, which has been experiencing moderate snowfall since afternoon, reeled under severe cold wave conditions as the minimum temperature was a mere 1.7 degrees Celsius.

The picturesque tourist spot of Manali has also been experiencing intermittent spells of snow since morning.

The weather office said Manali saw more than 60 cm of snow, while the Rohtang Pass, just 52 km from Manali, has been experiencing heavy snow.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district was the coldest place in the state with the mercury touching a low of minus 8.4 degrees. It recorded 45 cm of snow.

Kalpa, the resort town in Kinnaur district, saw 21.5 cm of snow and recorded the minimum temperature at minus 3.5 degrees. it was 4.8 degrees in Bhuntar and 3.3 degrees in Dharamsala.

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

The lower areas of the state, including Dharamsala, Shimla, Solan, Nahan and Mandi received moderate rain.

Tourist spots near Shimla, like honeymooners’ paradise Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda also experienced moderate snowfall.

Likewise, snowfall was experienced in the Solang Valley, known for ski slopes near Manali in Kullu district.

More snow on the ski slopes brought cheer to ski-lovers who have come from different parts of the country to undertake courses being organised by the state-run Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports.

The courses began Jan 11 and will continue till the onset of summer.

More snowfall was also recorded at Hatu Peak and Khara Pather of Shimla district, the Dhauladhar range of Kangra district, Pangi and Tissa ranges of Chamba district and Shrikhand Kailash of Kinnaur district.

The weather forecast said the western disturbances - storm systems originating from Caspian Sea in the Central Asia and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region - are likely to be active by Sunday.

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