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Himachal: Snowfall disrupts normal life in tribal areas, 134 roads closed

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NewsDrum Desk
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Roads and vehicles covered in snow after fresh snowfall at Atal Tunnel, in Manali, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024.

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Shimla: Normal life was disrupted and 134 roads, including four national highways, were closed in Himachal Pradesh as the tribal areas and other high reaches received the first major snowfall of the year.

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Intermittent snowfall has continued since Tuesday night and more snow is likely as the local MeT office has issued an orange warning of heavy snow and rains at isolated places on January 31 and February 1.

The snowfall and heavy snowfall forecast have brought cheers to the farmers and the fruit and vegetable growers, who suffered huge crop losses due to the dry spell.

The wet spell is likely to be beneficial for the Rabi crops, said a spokesman of the Agriculture Department.

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The tourism and allied industries stakeholders are also exuberant as the long-awaited snowfall is likely to give a boost to tourist arrival.

Manali and Shimla had suffered due to the monsoon disaster and the room occupancy on the New Year was about 60 per cent, the lowest in four decades.

"The snowfall would increase tourist footfall and we are pinning hope for good business in the coming days," said a local hotelier.

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The key tourist resorts of Manali, Dalhousie, Sangla, Narkanda and Kufri experienced moderate snowfall while scattered rains occurred in mid and low hills breaking the prolonged dry spell. The cold wave conditions persisted in the lower hills and dense fog occurred at some places in the morning hours and the people were seen wearing woollen clothes.

Kumumseri in Lahaul and Spiti received 14.2 cm of snow followed by Khadrala 14 mm, Bharmour 8.6 cm, Sangla and Shilaroo 5 cm each, Sumdho 4.8 cm, Koksar 2.5 cm while Saloni in Chamba was wettest with 25.2 mm rain, Manali 12 mm, Rampur 9 mm, Seobagh 8.8 mm, Bhuntar 8.2 mm, Sarahan 7 mm, Pandoh 5.5 mm while Shimla witnessed drizzle.

A maximum of 120 roads are closed in Lahaul and Spiti districts as per the state emergency operation centre and about 400 transformers have been disrupted in the state.

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Kukumseri was the coldest at night recording a minimum temperature of minus 2.8 degrees C, Narkanda shivered at minus 1.3 degrees, Kalpa at minus 1.2 degrees, Kufri at 0.1 degree, Dalhousie at 1 degree, Manali 1.4 degree and Shimla at 2.4 degree C.

As per the MeT, three or four spells of heavy rains or snowfall are likely in Lahaul-Spiti, Shimla (including Shimla city and adjoining areas), Kinnaur, Chamba, Kangra, Kullu and Mandi during this period.

The state witnessed the driest January 2022 with about 99 per cent deficit rains and 83 per cent rain deficit in December 2023.

The snowfall is likely to cause disruption of essential services like water, electricity, communications and related services and reduce visibility, the forecast said.

Low temperatures in the morning hours and rain took a toll on the attendance of the primary students all across Hamirpur district as the parents preferred not to send their kids to schools due to the cold weather and chilly winds. 

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