Weather improves in HP, but snow covered roads affect traffic

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Shimla, Jan 16 (PTI) After three days of rain andsnow, weather in Himachal Pradesh cleared today, but blockedroads and sub-zero temperatures in higher reaches of the stateaffected normal life.

All roads beyond Shimla were blocked due to heavysnow, while traffic to Manali, Dharamshala and Chail wasdisrupted because of slippery tarmacs.

Due to snowy roads essential items to Shimla townreached late, while there was no service to upper part of thedistrict as land link to the area was cut off.

The city experienced its coldest night in four yearswith mercury settling at minus 3.3 degrees Celsius, fivenotches below normal.

Bad weather also hit power supply in many localitiesof the city, while sub-zero temperature froze water in supplypipes, which burst at many places.

Famous tourist resorts of Kufri, Fagu and Narkandaare covered under a thick snow blanket, with winter sportsenthusiast waiting for roads to clear to hit the ski slopsthere.

Solang ski slopes were covered under 120cm to 150cm ofsnow bringing cheers to ski enthusiasts.

A bright sunshine greeted people this morning, but itfailed to warm the region due to heavy snowfall for the lastthree days.

The 350km Hindustan-Tibet National Highway was blockedbeyond Sanjauli due to heavy snowfall and vehicular traffic toRampur was diverted via Dhami-Basantpur and Kingal.

The traffic to Manali remained disrupted, while roadbeyond the town was closed because of heavy snow.

Dharamsala and Mcleod in Kangra district experiencedfirst heavy snowfall of the season, while the sprawlingDhauladhar ranges presented a dazzling view as morning raysfell on its snow-clad pinnacles.

Lahual and Spiti and Pangi valleys in higher Himachalreeled under arctic conditions with mercury settling betweenminus 17 and minus 23 deg C. In Keylong and Kalpa minimum wasminus 12.7 and minus 9 deg C respectively.

Efforts were on to open the roads and snow cutterswere used on Hindustan-Tibet national Highway to clear thesnow to pave way for stranded vehicles.

Helicopter service between Bhuntar, Udaipur andStingry resumed today and an ailing people from Lahual andSpiti district were evacuated.

Avalanche threat looms large over high altitude areasin the tribal belt and people have been advised to stayindoors.

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