Most parts of Himachal Pradesh, including tourist hotspots Kufri and Manali, received light to moderate snow and rain over the last 24 hours, with some higher reaches receiving several feet of snow. Remote areas such as Dodra-Kwar, Pangi and Spiti turned inaccessible as mountain passes leading to them were blocked snow. They are likely to remain cut-off for the rest of the winter season. The wet spell, which began Monday and continued Thursday, has also led to closure of roads and disruption in power supply in some parts of the state.
According to the meteorological centre, Kothi village near Manali recorded 60 centimetres of snow on Wednesday, while Khadrala in Shimla recorded 20 cm snow. Kalpa in Kinnaur received 17 cm while Kufri and Manali recorded 10 cm each. Keylong in Lahaul recorded a snowfall of 3 cm.
Kasol in Kullu recorded the maximum 50 millimetres of rain, followed by 39 mm in Seobagh, 30 mm in Kandaghat and 28 mm in Bhuntar. Shimla and Dharamshala received 16 and 7.6 mm respectively.
In the Dodra-Kwar subdivision of Shimla, all main and link roads were blocked by Thursday morning. “The Chanshal Pass, which connects Dodra-Kwar to the rest of Shimla, is covered under four to five feet of snow. Once the weather gets dry, we will try to clear it as the delivery of some essential supplies to the area via road is pending. But it’s possible that the pass remains closed for the rest of winter,” said a public works department official. Another official said that seven JCBs and three dozers have been deployed to clear the snow in the valley area. Nineteen power distribution transformers in the sub-division are also down, leading to power outages.
PWD officials said that in other parts of the district, some roads including the Chopal-Deha road and the Sungri-Rohru link road, are blocked and snow clearing operations are underway. Sand is also being sprinkled on some roads to prevent the surface from getting slippery.
The NH-5 (Hindustan-Tibet Road) has also been closed at Narkanda and the traffic diverted to alternative routes, district officials said. In Rohru, 584 distribution transformers are down due to a 66 KV line getting affected, officials said. Twelve transformers are also down in Kumarsain.
Himachal gets its first Doppler Weather Radar Station
A doppler weather radar (DWR) has been installed at Kufri – the first in the state – which will help weather officials in a more accurate short-term forecasting (nowcasting). Such a radar uses the doppler effect in waves to measure detailed information about a storm’s internal wind flow and structure. This includes the height and area of clouds, movement and direction of clouds, water content in the clouds, speed of the water droplets, the wind within a cloud system and also the turbulence in a cloud.
Meteorological officials said that the radar has a range in a radius of upto 100 kilometres. “It will provide a more precise area-specific weather nowcast. Based on its observations, timely warnings for a particular place can be issued in case of severe weather such as hailstorm, thunderstorm, heavy snowfall, gusty winds etc.,” said Manmohan Singh, director of meteorological centre at Shimla.
The radar, which is fully automatic and works round-the-clock, is currently running on test mode for a two-week period. Officials said that in the future, two more doppler radars will be installed at Mandi and Dalhousie.
Himachal currently has six surface weather observatories, 23 automatic weather stations and around 70 automatic rainguage stations. For long-range and long-term forecasting, satellite data is used.
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