Himachal reeled under cold wave conditions and Shimla experienced the coldest night in eleven years with the mercury dipping to minus 3.7 degrees on Wednesday. Manali was the coldest in nine years with the minimum temperature sinking to minus 7.8 degrees.
Earlier, Shimla had experienced the coldest night on January 24, 2008, with a low of minus 4.4 degrees while Manali recorded the lowest temperature at minus 8.0 degree on January 17, 2011
The minimum temperatures stayed four to seven degree below normal and high altitude tribal areas froze under arctic conditions with mercury staying between minus 18 and minus 26 degrees.
Bright sunshine greeted the people after six days and rescue and restoration operations continued in full swing. Police worked overtime to rescue about 1000 motorists, stuck in heavy snow in 300 vehicles between Shoghi and ISBT, last night.
Waterpipes froze and burst at several places in Shimla and adjoining areas and people melted snow to meet the water requirements. Thick ground frost made the roads slippery and frozen roads made pedestrian movement risky.
While upper Shimla region and Kinnaur remained cut off for the fifth day, Shimla- Kalka National highway was opened to traffic but slippery road conditions and skidding of vehicles hinder smooth traffic and the town remained without newspapers and other essential items like milk, bread and vegetables etc.
The vehicles coming from Mandi and Kangra areas are coming up to Hira Nagar, about 12 Km from here and the road connecting the state capital with lower areas are likely to be opened by this afternoon, said SP, Shimla Omapati Jamwal adding that the vehicles coming from Chandigarh side are stuck near Kachi Ghati.
Some areas in Shimla remained without electricity for several powers as uprooted trees damaged the transmission lines but electricity was fully restored in the morning.
The HRTC has started the trial run to Chandigarh and the first bus left ISBT at 12:30 pm. Thousands of tourists who have thronged Shimla, enjoyed the “sun and snow” while youth and children were seen playing with snowballs and making a snowman.