High altitude lakes and water streams in Himachal Pradesh have started to freeze as temperature is dipping down drastically. The minimum temperature on hills higher than 13,000 feet has been below the freezing point.
Situated at height of 16,000 feet, Suraj Tal lake at Sarchu and Chander Tal lake at a height of 14,100 feet in Spiti, have been freezing partially during night times. Most of the water bodies and streams on Baralacha-la have frozen completely. Dry atmosphere and low pressure have brought down the night temperature below freezing point here. According to meteorological department Shimla, temperature in the state is expected to decrease now onwards.
Shimla meteorological department director Manmohan Singh said the temperature on high altitude regions was falling rapidly but low altitude areas of the state were still suffering from scorching heat. “District headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti at Keylong (11,000ft) is shivering at 7 degree Celsius, while Una is burning at 33 degree Celsius, 5 degrees more than usual temperature for this time of season,” he said.
Kullu on Monday recorded minimum temperature of 16 degree Celsius, while it was 20.2 degree Celsius in Mandi. Keylong was the coldest at 7.1 degree Celsius followed by Kalpa (Kinnaur) at 8.5. Shimla, Dharamshala, Nahan, Una and Manali recorded minimum temperatures of 13.4, 14.1, 15.9, 20 and 10.2 degrees Celsius respectively. With maximum temperature of 33.2 degree Celsius, Una was the hottest region in state.
Effect of cold is being witnessed in rivers, streams and other water sources whose water level has sharply decreased as melting speed of glaciers is decreased. Even the snow fed sources of drinking water in Kullu, Mandi, Kinnaur and other hilly districts have affected a lot.
Following cold weather, number of tourists going to Ladakh from Manali-Keylong route has dropped up to 75 percent. Camps built at Sarchu, the border of Himachal and J&K on Manali-Leh highway, have been removed where tourists used to stay as their night halt. Owner of Planet Himalaya adventure camp Mahinder Singh said night temperature at Sarchu is abnormally very low and asking tourists to stay there was not a wise decision, therefore, they packed up their camps. “It’s dangerous to stay there. Sarchu may experience snowfall any time. Now we shall camp there next summers,” he said.
A taxi driver Deepak, who reached Manali from Ladakh said water on road at Baralacha-la was frozen and temperature was extremely low. He said, “Cool winds beyond Sarchu had frozen my body. I had to switch on heater for a moment.”