Cold wave grips HP, MeT warns of heavy snowfall

An intense cold wave gripped Shimla and the entire hills of Himachal Pradesh, particularly the tribal belts, with temperatures dropping between 0.9 and 3 degree Celsius at certain places on Sunday.

There is no respite for the state, however, as the MeT office in Shimla warned of heavy rains and snowfall in the next 24 hours beginning from mid-night on Sunday. "Heavy snowfall will occur at a few places on the mid and high reaches of the state the districts of Chamba, Lahaul and Spiti, Kangra, Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla," said Manmohan Singh, head of the MeT department.

This will be the second bout of snowfall in the last 15 days after snowfall had paralysed life in Shimla and its interiors, blocking roads and national highways beside uprooting trees,electricity poles and snapping power supply lines. There are chances of heavy rainfall and thunder-showers over the low hills of the state mainly in the districts of Una, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, lower parts of Solan, Mandi, Sirmaur and Kangra from mid night of February 4 to the morning of Feburary 6, Manmohan Singh added.

He said thunder squalls (sharp increases in wind speed) accompanied by hail may also occur at one or two places in the lower hills of the state during these days.

Shimla deputy commissioner Dinesh Malhotra said the local administration was all geared up to tackle the effects of the snowfall. "Steps would be taken to clear roads immediately and maintain the supplies," Malhotra said.

The MeT office blamed the sudden decrease in temperatures on a Western Disturbance as an upper air system over Afghanistan and adjoining North Pakistan now lies over north Pakistan and adjoining Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the tribal areas of Keylong and Kalpa recorded minimum temperatures of minus 6.1 and minus 4 degrees respectively. Tourist resort of Manali recorded a minimum of minus 1.6 followed by Bhuntar and Solan at 3.2 degrees each, capital Shimla 4.1 degrees, Sundernagar and Saluni 4.5 degrees each, Una 6.5 and Nahan 8 degrees.

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