Intense cold wave sweeping most parts of Himachal Pradesh tightened its grip with the higher reaches mountain passes and tribal areas receiving fresh spell of moderate snowfall while mid and lower hills received widespread rains, accompanied by high velocity icy winds.
High altitude tribal areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnuar, Dhauladhar ranges in Kangra, Churdhar ranges in Sirmaour and Rohtang, Kunzam, Saach and Chansel passes are experiencing intermittent heavy snowfall since morning and Lahaul and Pangi valleys have been cut off due to closure of Rohtang pass which received 40 cm of snow till this evening.
Intense cold wave gripped Lahaul, Spiti, Pangi, Kullu, Kangra, Pin-Parvati, Pooh and Samdoh as mercury dipped 5 to 10 degree Celsius below freezing point.
Dhauladhar and Churdhar ranges are experiencing heavy snowfall creating severe cold wave conditions in lower valley areas while Dodra-Kwar in Shimla has been cut off due to closure of Chansel pass.
Helicopter sorties to tribal areas were disrupted due to inclement weather and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who was to visit Lahaul and Spiti district, had to return from Samdoh.
Keylong received 10 cm snow till this evening while higher reaches in tribal areas are experiencing heavy snowfall, reports reaching here said.
The minimum temperature dropped by 3 to 5 degrees and stayed below freezing point in most parts in tribal areas and below normal in rest of the state.
Lahaul and Spiti Deputy Commissioner B S Thakur said food grains and other essential commodities have been stocked in adequate quantity in tribal areas and arrangements for holding winter games are in place.
LPG cylinders would be transported from Manali as soon as Rohtang is cleared, he said.
Yogesh Nayyar of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said efforts would be made to open Rohtang pass immediately after the snowfall stops and the pass would be kept open for maximum period during the winters.
Shimla was lashed by sharp showers accompanied by high velocity icy winds. The minimum temperature dipped to 7.1 deg while maximum temperature plummeted to 14.2 deg C.
Elsewhere in the state, maximum temperatures dropped by 2 to 4 degrees and Una in the foothills was warmest during the state with maximum temperature at 25 degrees while Solan and Kangra recorded a high of 22 deg, followed by Sundernagar 21.6 deg, Nahan 21 deg, Bhuntar and Dharamsala 20.5 deg and 20.2 deg and Kalpa 5.6 deg C.
Manali received 18 mm of rains followed by Dalhousie 10 mm, Tissa 8 mm and Udaipur, Bharmaur and Saloni 4 mm each.