Shimla: The first heavy snowfall of the season in Shimla and upper reaches on Saturday threw normal life completely out of gear as traffic, telecommunication links and supply of power and water were disrupted while a large number of tourists were stranded.
Mercury dropped sharply with Shimla and Bhuntar recording a low of 0.2 degree as the snowfall ended a three-month long dry spell while authorities have also warned of medium avalanche in high hills and tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh.
The upper Shimla and Kinnaur region were cut off after the heavy snow blocked roads bringing vehicular traffic to a halt beyond Shoghi, 13 km from Shimla, where a large number of travellers were stuck.
Essential commodities like milk and vegetables did not reach Shimla while heavy snow uprooted trees, snapped overhead power transmission lines and disrupted telecommunication services.
The state capital and several other areas were without power for more than 10 hours.
State electricity board engineers and workmen were trying to restore power but it was not an easy task amid the continuing snowfall.
Churdhar ranges in Sirmaur and surrounding areas of Nauradhar, Haripurdhar and upper Shallai areas received heavy snowfall.
90 cm of snow was recorded at Chaurdhar and 45 cm at Haripurdhar.The Transgiri area has also been totally cut off due to heavy snow.
The sprawling Dhauladhar ranges in Kangra district are experiencing intermittent heavy snowfall since last night while lower areas are having widespread heavy rains.
Shimla received 40 cms of snow till this noon while key tourist resorts of Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda had 45-55 cm of snow.
Khada Patthar also received 45 cm of snow while Manali had 30 cm of snow.
The snowfall was preceded by rains and sleet. Shimla received 20 mm of rains, Dharamshala 44 mm, Manndi, Poanta Sahib and Solan 38 mm of rains each, Nahan 35 mm, Una 34 mm, Bajura 32 mm.
The snowfall has brought cheers to apple growers as it is considered white manure for the produce. The three-month long dry spell has ended which will be beneficial for the Rabi crop.
The minimum temperatures dropped sharply. Manali recorded a minimum temperature at 0.8 degree followed by Solan 2.5 degree, Sundernagar 4.7 degree, Nahan 5.0 degree, Dharamshala 8.4 degree and Una 9 degree C.
However, mercury marginally increased to -2.8 and -2.7 at Kalpa and Keylong which also received 10 and 5 cm of snow respectively local MeT office said.
The Met office has warned of heavy snowfall at isolated places in mid and high hills on Sunday also and dry weather in the region thereafter.
Public Works Department men are working round the clock to clear the snow and remove the fallen trees while engineers are on the job to restore power supply at the earliest, an official spokesperson said.
SP Shimla DW Negi has cautioned the tourist and locals to restrict outdoor movement as there was threat of snow-laden trees falling on roads.
A large number of tourists who made a beeline to Shimla were stranded at Shoghi, officials said.
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