Heavy snowfall closes Manali-Leh road


By: ML Verma

Shimla (Oct 23): Heavy snowfall in the high reaches of Himachal Pradesh and inclement weather conditions prevailing in the region once again derailing normal life in the state.

District information officer, Lahual-Spiti, Sher Singh said that Keylong town received 18 cm snowfall while Rohtang Pass had two to three feet of snow. Report received from Kinnaur said that Kalpa had 12.7 cm of snowfall, while the Kinnar-Kailash ranges are shrouded by a thick layer of snow, whenever downstream areas have been experiencing heavy downpour since this morning.

In Chamba district, 4.6 ft snow has been recorded on Sacch Pass and high reaches of Pangi and Bharmour valley were also covered by a thick sheet of snow. Chamba town was lashed with rainfall. Bhuntar in Kullu district recorded 36 mm rainfall, Sundernagar in Mandi district 31 mm, Mandi town 27.8 mm, Solan 25 mm, Dharamsala of Kangra and Kalpa 22 mm, Shimla 19 mm, Una 18 mm and Nahan of Sirmaur 14 mm, respectively.

Meanwhile, the strategic 475-km-long Manal-Leh highway has been off for traffic since yesterday. A number of vehicles carrying installations to flood-hit Leh of J&K have been abandoned on the way. BRO officials claimed that snow-cutters have been pressed into road clearing operation.

About 50-60 tourists and about equal numbers of locals are stranded on this road since yesterday. Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh’s convoy was rescued from near Jalori Pass while on their way to Rampur yesterday.

The Keylong-Kaza highway was also closed for traffic after heavy snowfall on Kunzum Pass. Telephone and power supply remained off last night in many part of the state following thunderstorms.

Mercury suddenly plunged by 4-5 degree below normal in the state as Kalpa town recorded season’s lowest at minus 0.5 degree Celsius, followed by Keylong at 1.7 degrees.

Shimla town was as low as at 5.6 degrees, Bhuntar 7.3 degree, Solan 9.8 degree, Sundernagar and Dharamsala 10.5 degrees each, Mandi and Una 12.6 degree each and Nahan 15.5 degrees. The Met office said that rain or snow is likely to occur at few places in Himachal Pradesh in next the 24 hours.

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