Snowfall halts life in Himachal Pradesh

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People walk on a snow-covered road in Shimla on Wednesday. (Express photo by Pradeep Kumar)

A spell of heavy snow and rain brought life to a standstill in many parts of Himachal Pradesh Wednesday. Snowfall in middle and high hills led to closure of most roads for vehicular traffic, while electricity transformers were disrupted in many areas. Maximum temperature dropped between eight to nine degrees below normal, according to weather officials.

A total of 879 roads in the state are closed, PWD officials said, with 563 roads closed in the Shimla zone. Around 65 roads were closed in the Kullu circle, while 109 roads in the Mandi circle. In Dalhousie circle ,137 roads were closed. Five National Highways have been closed as well, including four in Shimla and one in Kangra.

Shimla received a total of 47.2 cm of snow from Tuesday morning to Wednesday afternoon. The maximum temperature fell to 1.4 degree Celsius, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.

Narkanda in Shimla district received around four feet of snow, said district officials. Kalpa in Kinnaur has received more than 30 cm of snow since Tuesday, while Kharapathar in Shimla received 60 cm of snow Tuesday. Dalhousie and Kufri recorded 35 cm snow each Tuesday.

The lower hills were lashed by rain and thundershowers with Ghumarwin in Bilaspur and Dharamshala recording 59 mm and 34 mm of rain respectively. There was 54 mm of rainfall in Banjar in Kullu, and 49 mm in Nadaun.

In Shimla district, most of the main and link roads were closed Wednesday as the snow spell continued. PWD officials said that snow and rain-induced damage to the roads is to the tune of nearly Rs 84 crore. Around 425 machines, including JCBs, dozers and tippers have been deployed in snow-clearing operations across the state.