Shimla, Jan 20: It was the coldest night in the new year for Himachal Pradesh capital, Shimla, with the mercury sliding to minus 0.2 degrees Celsius yesterday even as the tribal areas of the state froze under sub-zero temperatures.
Keylong and Kalpa in the tribal Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur districts recorded lows of minus 11 and minus 5 degrees respectively. The high-altitude tribal areas are groaning under biting cold-wave conditions with the mercury plunging 12 to 20 degrees below freezing point and causing all natural sources of water like lakes, springs, rivulets and tributaries of major rivers to become frozen in the past five weeks, including the 70-km stretch of Chandrabhaga river.
This has caused a sharp fall in the discharge of water in snow-fed rivers and hydro-power generation at the major power projects has come down by 25 to 30 per cent.
Manali recorded a minimum of minus 4.4 degrees while Shimla and Dalhousie saw the mercury dipping to minus 0.2 degrees. Further, the mercury hovered around freezing point at Palampur (0.5 degrees), Solan (0.7), Bhuntar (0.9) and Bhuntar (1.6). Dharamsala and Nahan recorded a low of 5.5 degrees while Una was a bit warmer with a low of 7.3 degrees.
The mercury fell sharply in the higher hills and tribal areas after mild snowfall while the maximum day temperatures, too, dropped marginally. Thick ground frost occurred in the middle and higher hills, resulting in the freezing and bursting of water pipes while fog engulfed the lower hills, disrupting vehicular traffic in the morning.
Sundernagar was the hottest recorded place in the state with a maximum of 17.9 degrees while Nahan and Solan recorded a high of 15 and 13.5 degrees, respectively, followed by Dharamshala (13.2 degrees), Una (12.8), Shimla (9.8), Manali (9) and Kalpa (8.6). The MeT office has predicted dry weather in the region in the next five days up to January 25 and rainfall or snow at isolated places in the higher hills on January 26.