After a lean and dry spell, which deepened fears of a downturn in the state's tourism prospects in peak winter, the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh received fresh snowfall on Wednesday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed.
Over the last 24 hours, the upper reaches of Himachal including Chamba, Kangra, Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, and Shimla districts received heavy snowfall, the central weather forecasting agency informed.
The end of the prolonged dry spell brought smiles back on the faces of locals, with farmers happy over fresh hopes of a better yield.
Farmers across Kharapathar, Tikkar, Mandhol, Narkanda and the higher reaches of the Dodra Kawar region of Shimla district heaved a sigh of relief after the fresh bursts of snow.
Shimla after snowfall
Meanwhile, the India Metrological Department (IMD) issued an orange alert for various places in Himachal on Tuesday, indicating the possibility of more snowfall in the higher-altitude regions as well as rainfall in other parts of the state over the next 48 hours.
According to IMD, starting January 30 night to the morning of February 2, heavy rain or snowfall is likely at some places in Chamba, Kangra, Kinnaur, Kullu, Lahaul, Spiti, Mandi, and Shimla districts.
Further, starting later on Wednesday, the state will be in the grip of a fresh western disturbance, the IMD stated, adding that there is likelihood of more heavy snowfall in both the high-altitude areas and plains.
"Over the next five or six days starting tonight, there is a likelihood of more snowfall in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh. The rainfall activity will start tonight. Over two days--January 31 and February 1--the districts of Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, and
Kullu could receive moderate to heavy snowfall. There is an orange alert out for these areas. There is also the possibility of rainfall and thunderstorms, accompanied by lighting, in the districts of Kangra, Bilaspur, and Shimla," Sandeep Kumar Sharma, a senior scientist at IMD, said.
"After February 2, the weather activity will reduce. However, another western disturbance could be approaching on February 3 and 4 bringing rainfall to the plains and snowfall in the higher reaches. The temperatures will remain above normal today but will go down thereafter following rainfall," Sharma said.
He said that an orange alert has been issued for possible snowfall in the mountains on January 31 and February 1 while a yellow alert for thunderstorms is also out for the other parts of the state.
"A thunderstorm alert has been issued for today for Kangra, Mandi, Hamirpur, Shimla, Bilaspur, Mandi and Sirmaur. For the districts of Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu and Kinnaur, an orange alert for snowfall has been issued," he added.
During the past 24 hours, Kukumseri in the Lahaul-Spiti district recorded the lowest minimum temperature of -4.9 degrees Celsius while Kalpa in Kinnaur recorded a minimum temperature of 2.6 degrees Celsius.
Reckong Peo in Kinnaur shivered at 0-6 degrees Celsius while Narkanda in Shimla district recorded 0.4 degrees Celsius.
Manali recorded 1.1 degrees Celsius, Kufri 2.3 degrees Celsius, Bhunter in Kullu 1.9 degrees Celsius, Solan 2.5 degrees Celsius, Una 4.2 degrees Celsius, Dalhousie recorded 3.7 degrees Celsius, Dharamshala 6.4 degrees Celsius and Shimla 4.2 degrees Celsius.