Snow, rain lash region; 200 stranded due to avalanche in HP

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Chandigarh, Jan 9 (UNI) Moderate to heavy snowfall lashed many areas in Himachal Pradesh, triggering avalanches while lower areas of the hilly state and isolated places in Punjab and Haryana experienced rain today.

Chilly winds swept most parts of the region following snow and rain even as the minimum temperature kept above normal.

Tribal districts of Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur and Pangi valley in Chamba district had another spell of snowfall intensifying cold wave currently lashing the tribal belt. People groaned under severe cold wave conditions in the tribal areas.

Over 200 people were stranded on the Sangla-Karcham road, near Sangla, in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh following an avalanche that wiped off the road, a report from Shimla quoting official sources said.

Efforts are on to resuce the stranded persons. The district has been cut off from the rest of the state due to heavy snowfall, which disrupted communication links.

Several natural water bodies, including Suraj Tal and Chander Tal lakes in the tribal belt had already frozen, reducing water level in the major rivers of the state.

All mountain passes, including Baralacha Pass, Saach Pass and Rohtang Pass, and Kibber (16,000 feet), the highest village in the world, had heavy snowfall.

Tourist resorts of Naldehra, Kufri and Narkanda in Shimla district, Manali in Kullu district and Dalhousie in Chamba district also had snowfall.

The 320-km long Hindustan-Tibet road was closed for vehiclular traffic due to snowfall and Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses bound for Rohru and Chopal have been diverted via Poanta. The buses to Rampur have been routed through Mashobra, a report from Shimla said.

Shimla and its adjoining areas were experiencing intermittent rain for the last three days, registering a sharp fall in the night temperature, which stood at 2.9 degree Celsius as compared to 5.6 degrees recorded yesterday.

Widespread rain lashed lower areas of Himachal Pradesh, including districts of Kangra, Solan, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba and Shimla.

Isolated areas in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir also reported rainfall. However, the mercury kept two degrees to nine degrees up in these states.

Ambala, Hissar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Balachaur, Nangal Dam, Mukerian, Srinagar and Jammu experienced rainfall.

The mercury also rose in Chandigarh recording 12 degrees, six degrees above normal. The city was lashed by intermittent rain since last night.

The mercury hovered seven degrees above normal at Safdarjung in Delhi, registering 14.0 degrees celsius.

The night temperature also rose in the Kashmir valley with Srinagar showing 0.3 degrees, five degrees above normal. Jammu, too, showed a rise in the minimum temperature to 11.9 degrees Celsius.

The met office predicted moderate to heavy rain or snow at many places in Himachal Pradesh and moderate to heavy rain or thundershowers at many places in Punjab and few places in Haryana during the next 24 hours.

Hailstorm or thundersquall with speed exceeding 45 km per hour is expected to occur at some isolated places in the region during the period.

The night temperatures are likely to fall after 24 hours in the region, the Met office said.

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