Shimla (Himachal Pradesh): The steady dip in mercury levels in large parts of Himachal Pradesh, prompted locals to go under several layers of woollens while many huddled around bonfires as the intense cold wave continued sweeping through the hill-state.
Most parts of the hill-state recorded sub-zero temperatures on Wednesday.
With the mercuty in mercury in several parts of the state dropping below freezing point, heavy snowfall clogged roads in Kufri, chilling locals to their bones.
Kufri shivered at – 0.3 degree Celsius on Wednesday while Narkanda in Shimla recorded -2.3 degree Celsius.
Dalhousie, a popular tourist haunt in Chamba district, was also in the grip of an icy chill at 1.7 degree Celsius. Locals, especially labourers, found it difficult to go about their chores in the freezing cold.
Over the last 24 hours, Keylong in the Lahaul-Spiti district recorded the lowest temperature at the state at -11 degree Celsius while Kukumseri, in the same district, saw the mercury settling at -10 degree Celsius.
Kalpa in Kinnaur district froze at -4.2 degree Celsius while Manali was at -2.2 degree Celsius.
Dharamshala recorded a minimum temperature of 5.2 degrees Celsius while state capital Shimla shivered at 1.7 degree Celsius.
“It gets very cold here in the mornings and evenings. Water on the roads starts freezing, increasing the risk of four-wheelers skidding on the snow. Temperatures here drop to minus in the evening,” Dinesh Kumar, a local said.
On what he was doing to keep out the cold, to the extent possible, Dinesh said, “Lighting bonfires is the only option to beat the chill.”
However, Dinesh said he was anticipating a fresh burst of snowfall in the region.
Another local said the extent and intensity of the cold was significantly more in Kufri.
Pointing to frozen water on a road, he said, “Water has frozen over. We face a lot of problems going about our chores in the mornings and evenings. A strong wind has been sweeping across Kufri over the last two-three days. It’s very cold here.”
Pradeep Thakur, another local, said, “There was moderate snowfall on January 1 but it has been getting colder ever since.”
Pradeep said, “The tour operators have been hit especially hard by the ongoing cold wave as several tourists are moving to Manali and other places that are relatively warmer. There are no jobs for those associated with the tourism industry in this unforgiving cold.”