Heavy snowfall closes roads in Himachal's high hills

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 04, 2013 13:50 hrs

Shimla, Feb 4 (IANS) Several parts of Himachal Pradesh Monday received moderate to heavy snow, snapping road connectivity to many areas in the higher reaches.

Road links in upper Shimla towns and between Kullu and Manali were disrupted as snow covered the roads, officials said.

The road connectivity on the Kullu-Manali highway snapped as a thick blanket of snow covered the road near Patlikuhl, some 20 km before Manali.

The Hindustan-Tibet Road beyond Shimla was closed as snow lay thick over it.

Kinnaur district and the upper areas of Shimla district were closed as various link roads in Jubbal, Kotkhai, Kumarsain, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal were blocked by snow.

The minimum temperature recorded at Manali that saw more than 35 cm of snow was one degree Celsius below the freezing point, the weather office here said.

Kalpa, some 250 km from Shimla, experienced 22 cm snow.

"High-altitude areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu, Kinnaur, Sirmaur, Chamba, Mandi and Shimla districts have been experiencing snow since early Monday morning," an official said.

Lower areas of the state, including Dharamsala (37.6 mm), Palampur (26 mm), Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi towns, received moderate to heavy rains, bringing a considerable fall in temperature.

Kumarsain in Shimla district saw the state's highest rainfall of 107 mm till 8 a.m.

It was minus-5 degrees in Kalpa, while it was 5.2 degrees Celsius in Dharamsala and 3.6 degrees Celsius in Shimla, which saw 11.8 mm of rain and sleet.

Tourist spots near Shimla, such as honeymooners' paradise Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda experienced moderate snowfall, turning the hill stations even more picturesque.

As news of the snowfall flashed across the plains, tourists started arriving at Manali and nearby Shimla hills.

However, the government has warned tourists not to venture into the high hills as chances of road cave-ins and landslides are high.

The weather office said certain areas in Shimla, Kinnaur, Chamba, Kullu, Kangra and Lahaul and Spiti are likely to experience heavy snow and rain till Feb 6.

Educational institutions in Kinnaur, Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti districts and Bharmour and Pangi subdivision of Chamba district will remain closed from two days to a week due to heavy snowfall.

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