Shimla: The first heavy snowfall of the season in Shimla and other upper reaches on Saturday threw normal life completely out of gear as traffic, telecommunication links and supply of power and water were disrupted stranding a large number of tourists.
Mercury dropped sharply with Shimla and Bhuntar recording a low of 0.2 degree, as the snowfall ended a three-month long dry spell. Authorities have also warned of a medium avalanche in high hills and tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh.
The upper Shimla and Kinnaur region were cut off after the heavy snow blocked roads bringing vehicular traffic to a halt beyond Shoghi, 13 km from here, where a large number of travellers were stuck.
Essential commodities like milk and vegetables did not reach Shimla while snow uprooted trees snapped overhead power transmission lines and disrupted telecommunication services.
Shimla received 40 cms of snow till this noon while key tourist resorts of Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda had 45-55 cm of snow.
Khada Patthar also received 45 cm of snow while Manali had 30 cm of snow.
The snowfall was preceded by rains and sleet. Shimla received 20 mm of rains, while Dharamshala got 44 mm with Manndi, Poanta Sahib and Solan 38 mm of rains each. On the other hand, Nahan got 35 mm, Una received 34 mm, and Bajura received 32 mm.
The snowfall has brought cheers to apple growers as it is considered white manure for the produce. The three-month long dry spell has ended which will be beneficial for the Rabi crop.