Many parts of Himachal Pradesh received the season’s first snow while other areas saw rain beginning Sunday evening, ending months of drought-like conditions in the state. Temperature plummeted across the state overnight and many areas even in the middle hills, including tourist spots Kufri and Narkanda near Shimla, were covered in a blanket of snow by Monday morning.
In a state where more than half the cultivated land is without the facility of irrigation, the wet spell is expected to provide a much-needed relief to farmers many of whom had delayed the sowing of wheat and other rabi crops due to the prevailing dry conditions.
Among the places with meteorological stations, Sangla valley in Kinnaur received maximum 25 centimetres snowfall till Monday morning, followed by Gondla in Lahaul and Kothi in Kullu, which received 20 cm each. Khoksar in Lahaul received 10 cm of snow. In Shimla district, Khadrala received 18 cm of snow and Shilaroo 10.4cm. Kufri received seven centimetres of snow and 16 millimetre rain.
The town of Shimla received around 22 millimetres of rain, while the higher reaches of the district, including Chopal, Jubbal-Kotkhai, Kharapathar and Rohru received several inches of snow. In Sirmaur district, snowfall occurred at the Choordhar peak and its adjoining areas such as Nauradhar and Haripurdhar.
Other high-altitude areas such as the Dauladhar range in Kangra, Choordhar in Sirmaur, Jalori Pass in Kullu, Sach Pass in Chamba, Chanshal Pass in Shimla and the Kinner Kailash mountain range in Kinnaur also received snowfall ranging from a few inches to more than a foot.
In some areas, the snowfall led to closure of roads and disruption in other services such as power and landline phone connectivity.
While apple harvest is still underway in some parts of Kinnaur district, farmers in the low and middle hills state are in the process of sowing rabi crops including wheat, gram, mustard, garlic and vegetables.
Meteorological officials said that the spell of precipitation is expected to end by Tuesday, followed by at least a week of dry weather except some rain/snow at isolated places in the high hills.
The meteorological centre said that maximum temperatures decreased by two to three degrees, and were five to six degrees below normal, and minimum temperatures decreased by one to two degrees. Keylong recorded a minimum temperature of minus three degree Celcius, and in Shimla, Manali and Dharamshala, it was 3.6, 0.2, and 5.8 degrees respectively.
Coming a day after Diwali, precipitation in the state also helped lower the air pollution levels in the state. The air quality index had witnessed a sharp increase on Saturday – the AQI in Manali, for instance, increased from 43 (good) on Thursday to 102 (moderate) on Saturday.
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