Himachal hotter than usual


Shimla : It’s barely mid-spring but the hills of Himachal Pradesh are experiencing a much hotter weather than usual. Forecasters say the onset of summer is well in advance as the state is already experiencing weather conditions akin to those in May.

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The Queen of Hills, as Shimla was fondly called by the British, was experiencing an unusually hot weather. It saw the season’s highest at 25.8 degrees Celsius earlier this week, making it the warmest March Shimla has seen since 2004.

“The mercury is rising unusually across the hill state due to long dry spell and blowing of southwesterly winds. This sometimes occurs during the seasons’ transition period,” Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office here, told IANS.

“This is a temporary phase. With the approach of western disturbances again in the region, the unusually high temperatures would go down,” he added.

According to the meteorological office, the temperatures have shot up sharply across the state over the past one week and most places recorded maximum temperatures four to 11 degrees above the average for this time of the year.

The increase has been more in the middle and higher reaches as compared to the lower hills.

Shimla recorded a maximum of 25.8 degrees Celsius Tuesday and 25.7 degrees Wednesday, 11 degrees above normal.

“The highest for this month was recorded in the year 2004 when the maximum temperature was 25.5 degrees Celsius March 7,” Singh said.

Shimla’s average minimum of 15 degrees this week was also seven degrees above normal.

“Shimla’s average maximum temperature during this period is 14 to 15 degrees. But this year, the town was experiencing weather conditions like that in May,” the weather official added.

Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti and still marooned in snow, also saw a rise in temperatures.

“On an average, Keylong is recording the maximum between 12 and 13 degrees these days, seven degrees above average. Similarly, the minimum temperature is four to five degrees above average at around two degrees,” he said.

Kalpa, another town located in the high hills in Kinnaur district, is also unusually hot. It was also recording the maximum temperature nine degrees above average.

Likewise, Dharamsala, host to two Indian Premier League (IPL) matches next month, recorded the minimum and maximum temperatures about one and eight degrees above average, respectively in the past few days.

The town was experiencing daytime temperature of around 30 degrees.

Popular tourist resorts like Narkanda, Kufri, Kasauli, Manali, Palampur, Chamba and Dalhousie were also experiencing much hotter weather.

Singh said the change in climatic conditions was a normal phenomenon. “But if such trends continue for some years consecutively, it’s a matter of concern,” he added.