Parts of Himachal including Rohtang pass and Lahaul valley witnessed the first snowfall of the season on Sunday night that resulted in plunging of the mercury to minus 1 degree Celsius at Keylong.
The high altitude peaks of Himachal including Rohtang, Kunzum, Baralacha, parts of Pir Panjal and Dhauldadhar mountain ranges received light snow. Keylong, Jispa and Darcha in Lahaul were covered with a thin sheet of snow that melted away in few minutes on Monday morning. The peaks around Lahaul and Manali were covered with a fresh white blanket on Monday morning. However, the snow disappeared soon after the sunrise. Manali also experienced some drizzling after a gap of two months.
With this, the temperature in mid and high hills has dropped suddenly. Night temperature in many places has dropped below the freezing point. Keylong, district headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti district, recorded the lowest temperature of minus 1 degrees C, the lowest of the season. Kalpa and Manali recorded minimum temperature of 2.7 and 4.2 degrees C. Minimum temperature of Shimla was recorded at 11.1 degrees C.
According to Shimla meteorological centre, the minimum temperature in the state decreased by 1 to 2 degrees C in the last 24 hours and overall minimum temperature of Himachal was also 1 to 2 degrees C below the normal for this time of the season. However, the weatherman has predicted dry weather conditions in the next seven days.
A large number of tourists on Monday morning rushed to Lahaul and Rohtang pass to see the fresh snow. Rohtang pass and Baralacha pass have received 5cm to 8cm of fresh snow. The light snowfall partially interrupted traffic on Leh-Manali highway in the early morning. However, traffic is moving without any problem since the afternoon.
The hoteliers are still waiting for heavy snowfall on the peaks which will help in attracting more tourists to Himachal. Most tourists visit Himachal only to see snow and snowfall. The light snowfall that parts of Himachal received on Sunday night was unlikely as the sky was clear in most parts of the state.
After Sarchu, Lahaul-Spiti police has removed the seasonal police post from Darcha also as the Leh-Manali highway is officially closed for civilian vehicles. People, including tourists, will now move beyond Darcha towards Sarchu at their own risk.