Snowfall raises hopes of ‘white’ Christmas

The sudden change in weather bringing snow to Shimla on Tuesday, particularly near its peripheral resort towns of Kufri, Fagu, Narkanda and Jakhu hills, has brought cheers to the hill town and raised expectations of a white Christmas. The rest of Himachal Pradesh experienced rains with temperatures plummeting to freezing point at several places, and mountain reaches. Manali experienced mild snowfall while Rohang and Solang Nallah received good snow.

Citizens and tourists woke up to news of snowfall at Kufri and Narkanda on Tuesday morning but soon the snow reached parts of the town. Shimla's Deputy Mayor Tikender Panwar was first to post pictures of the snowfall on Facebook while many tourists also uploaded mobile pictures of snowfall, spreading the news to else to the areas about seasons snowfall.

Director (tourism) Arun Sharma said: "It's very good news for the tourism industry. We are expecting an immediate 10 to 12 per cent increase because of the snowfall." Hoteliers claim that a lot of tourists have begun making inquiries for the Christmas period. Rain and the cold wave have raised expectations that there could be snowfall in town this Christmas. "From 1971 to 1991, Shimla had witnessed several times snowfall but it was only in 1989 snowfall was observed for five continuous days during the Christmas period," said a senior citizen Bal Krishan.

Says Manmohan Singh, the director of the state Meteorological department: "The last time Shimla witnessed a white Christmas was in 1991. The snowfall is entirely dependent on western disturbances, which, luckily, have already been hitting the region since December 11." Singh added that heavy rainfall and snowfall is likely to occur at isolated places in the middle and high hill between December 13 and December 14.

According to the meteorological department, Keylong experienced 10 cm of snow, the Kullu- Rohtang Pass (12 cm), Kharapathar (15 cm), Narkanda (6 cm) and Kufri (10 cm). Significant rainfall recorded from other parts of the state include Shimla (0.5 mm), Sundernagar in Mandi (0.8mm), Hamirpur (18 mm), Kahu, Jogindernagar and Kandaghat (6 mm each).

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