There will be no “white” Christmas in Shimla and elsewhere in Himachal Pradesh this time too. Mellow sunshine will greet you throughout the day at most of the tourist destinations with the weather bureau on Tuesday predicting open skies in the state.
“There is no significant Western Disturbances active in the region. Most of the towns in the state will witness sunny days till December 28,” Manmohan Singh, Director of Shimla’s Met office, told IANS.
He said there are chances of rain and snow in the state on or after December 31 with active western disturbances.
Temperatures have been unusually low in most of the popular tourist spots like Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Kasauli, Chail, Manali, Dalhousie, Dharamsala, Palampur, and Chamba.
Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district, was the coldest place with the minimum temperature dipping to minus 12.4 degrees Celsius.
The night temperature in capital Shimla was 2.2 degrees Celsius, whereas Kalpa, some 250 km from here, saw a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius.
It was minus 2.8 degrees Celsius in Manali, 2.2 degrees in Dharamsala and 2.7 degrees in Dalhousie.
However, foggy conditions would continue in low hills, mainly in Una, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, and Kangra districts.
Una town, adjoining Punjab, saw a low of 6.4 degrees Celsius, 11 notches below normal owing to dense fog.
But excited holidaymakers, mainly from the northern plains, have already started descending on tourist resorts across the state with the hope of white Christmas.
Shimla, which had season’s first snowfall this time on December 13, last recorded snowfall on Christmas in 2017 after a gap of over two decades.
“From tomorrow onwards, most of all our properties have been packed to capacity,” a senior official with the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) told IANS.
The HPTDC has 57 economy and high-end hotels across the state.
He said the arrival of the tourists in Shimla, Narkanda, Chail, Kasauli, Manali, Dalhousie, Dharamsala, and Palampur is quite good.
The mountain peaks viewed from Shimla’s historic Ridge and Dharamsala and Palampur towns have been wrapped in a thick white blanket of snow.
Popular resort Manali is getting a good share of tourists as its nearby hills have plenty of snow.
Snowfall has been eluding Shimla on Christmas since 1991 when 49 cm of snowfall fell on Christmas Eve. And except in 2010, there has been no white New Year’s Eve in Shimla in the past nine years.
Deforestation and pollution are blamed for the change in Shimla’s climatic conditions, says a study by the India Meteorological Department.
A study conducted by Manmohan Singh, Director of Shimla’s Met office, and S.C. Bhan of the Delhi Met office examined the snowfall trend in Shimla from 1990 to 2007.
They concluded that Shimla’s harsh winter, which formally commenced in November and ended in March, has declined after the mid-1980s.