Weather Update: Snow Returns In J&K, U’khand, Himachal; Roads Closed, Orange Alert Issued | Details Inside

The western Himalayan region that so far remained noticeably bare this winter season, finally turned into snow-capped ones, bringing joy to all who were earnestly waiting for it.

Snowfall in Himachal Pradesh Photo: PTI

After an unusual snow-less spell during the winter, the mountain peaks in the western Himalayan region that so far remained noticeably bare this winter season, finally turned into snow-capped ones, bringing joy to all who were earnestly waiting for it.

The tourism and allied industries stakeholders are exuberant as the long awaited snowfall is likely to give a boost to tourist arrival.

Earlier, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) attributed it to the lack of active western disturbances (WDs)  that originate in the Mediterranean region and bring unseasonal rainfall to northwest India. The lack of active WDs can also be attributed to the prevailing El-Nino conditions, and abnormal warming of surface waters in the central Pacific Ocean.

However, after prolonged waiting this winter, the mountain peaks of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh received fresh snowfall today along with isolated rainfall in several places in the northern region. Rainfall reportedly took place in parts of Punjab on Wednesday received rain, ending a prolonged dry spell as the minimum temperature in the state and neighbouring Haryana hovered close to the normal limits.

The MeT department on Wednesday sounded a yellow alert for heavy rain, snowfall and thunderstorms at isolated places in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand for the next 24 hours.

Fresh Snowfall, light rain in J&K

High altitude areas of Jammu province, including the cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district, received fresh snowfall on Thursday morning.

Officials said moderate to light rains also lashed the plains of the Jammu region.

"Fresh snowfall was witnessed in and around the Bhawan of Mata Vaishnodevi. The Trikuta hills area was covered with a blanket of snow this morning," they said.

Bhairon Ghati and Himkoti in Trikuta hills and the serpentine route leading to the shrine also experienced snowfall, they said. 

Despite the snowfall, the pilgrimage to the temple remained unaffected, with hundreds of pilgrims departing from the Katra base camp this morning.

Apart from Vaishno Devi, the mountains of Kishtwar, Doda, Reasi, Ramban, Kathua, Rajouri, and Poonch, including the Mughal Road, experienced snowfall.

Authorities have warned people about the potential risk of landslides and shooting stones on vulnerable spots along highways and urged them to avoid unnecessary travel.

The hills around the Patnitop hill resort also experienced snowfall. 

Himachal Pradesh: Roads closed, Orange Alert Issued

Normal life was disrupted and 134 roads, including four national highways, were closed in Himachal Pradesh as the tribal areas and other high reaches received the first major snowfall of the year.

Intermittent snowfall has continued since Tuesday night and more snow is likely as the local MeT office has issued an orange warning of heavy snow and rains at isolated places in five districts of Shimla, Kullu, Chamba, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti on January 31 and February 1.

About 15 cm snow has been recorded in the higher reaches of Shimla district since Tuesday night, MeT expert Sandeep Sharma told PTI on Wednesday, adding that the day temperatures have dropped by four-five days in one day.

Shimla city was lashed by thunderstorms, rain and sleet on Wednesday evening.

The snowfall and heavy snowfall forecast has brought cheers to the farmers and the fruit and vegetable growers, who suffered huge crop losses due to dry spell.