December 20, 2014 - INDIA - In some of the heaviest spells of snowfall Uttarakhand has seen in recent times, 30 people, according to the State Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre, have died in the hills in the last two days.
Himachal Pradesh also recorded heavy snowfall. The icy winds coming from these hill region swept Uttar Pradesh as well, leading to drop in temperatures. Lucknow was coldest in UP with minimum temperature 6.6 degrees Celsius.
WATCH: Cold wave hits North India, over 30 dead.
People woke up to foggy morning in Lucknow. However, strong winds cleared sky by 9 am. These winds also kept mercury low during the day. The maximum temperature despite bright sunshine was 21.5 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal. On Thursday, maximum and minimum temperature is expected to be around 21 and 7 degrees Celsius respectively. In the coming days, the Met officials said that the night temperatures would drop below five degrees Celsius.
Heavy snowfall in Almora, Pithoragarh, and Bageshwar
Meanwhile, 13 people died in Uttarakhand's Kumaon region alone in the past two days. Administration sources said that while three people died in Nainital, two collapsed due to the biting cold in Haldwani, three in Bageshwar, including an agriculture officer, and one in Bhimtal. Officials in the Disaster Mitigation Centre said they are trying to get detailed figures, but in these weather condition that was proving tough.
In Pithoragarh district, a private car slipped on the snow and went down a deep gorge, leaving two people dead and three seriously injured.
Electricity supply was snapped in several parts of Kumaon as thousands of trees had fallen, many on power lines. Water supply, too, was non-existent as pipes froze.
Sources in the district administration said Almora had not recorded such snow in over 40 years. In Pithoragarh, for over nine years, snowfall has not been so heavy and so early. And there were reports that Bageshwar had broken a 46 year-record.
Snow piled up to about two feet in many areas of Kumaon, paralyzing life further.
Roads were hit equally badly, with traffic cut off in large swathes of the hills. Twenty roads in Almora, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar and Champawat were covered with a thick blanket of snow. Hundreds of passenger buses and jeeps are still stranded, with local people volunteering to offer those stranded food, water and shelter.
Almora DM Binod Kumar Suman said, "At least 5,000 trees have fallen in the district, many on top of houses. We have restored power in 60% of the urban localities and 40% of rural areas. Today, we managed to rescue hundreds of stranded people. Some roads in the district have been cleared and opened. We are working on the other roads."
The district magistrate said for any emergency situation, people could call the toll free 1077 for help.
Minimum temperature was one degree Celsius in Almora, minus 3 degrees Celsius in Pithoragarh, and minus 1 degree Celsius in Bageshwar. - Times of India.