Hemkund Sahib pilgrims stopped after snowfall

Due to sudden change in weather in Chamoli district since Monday night, around 1,000 pilgrims on their way to Hemkunt Sahib Shrine were stopped near Ghangariya, officials at the district control room said on Wednesday.

Hemkunt Sahib Shrine witnessed snowfall after rain starting Monday which continued till Tuesday afternoon. Around one feet of snow was accumulated around the shrine, after which officials at the shrine decided to stop the pilgrims from reaching the shrine. Swati Bhadouriya, district magistrate Chamoli, could not be reached for a comment on accommodation arrangements for the pilgrims, till the filing of this report.

The India Meteorological Department has predicted that light to moderate rainfall or thunderstorm likely to occur at a few places especially in the hilly regions of the state over the next few days. Later in the week, the rainfall activity will be scattered across the state.

Bikram Singh, director of Meteorological Centre in Dehradun, said from June 24, rainfall activity will increase in the state and will spread out. “Many places in the state and not just hilly areas are likely to receive good rainfall for around three four days starting June 24. These rainfall activities are happening in the state due to passing western disturbance.”

Singh said the state would have to wait for almost another two weeks for monsoon to arrive. “Monsoon is likely to hit the state in the first week of July. Once monsoon arrives, such scattered rainfall will not occur, but there would be continuity in rainfall pattern. Distribution of rainfall can be more or less but there will be continuous rains,” the MeT official said.

Explaining the reason behind the sudden snowfall in the hilly regions of the state, Singh said, “Till the time monsoon arrives completely, snowfall in areas above 4000mtrs keeps happening. Unless monsoon crunch is fully established over the area, till then due to passing western disturbance there is always a chance of snowfall at such heights.”

The official said with the arrival of monsoon, easterly or south easterly winds penetrate till quite a high level (approximately above 4,000 mts).

At present these winds are found in the lower reaches of the state and is spread out over 1-2km areas, but post monsoon these winds spread out till 6kms of area.

“These winds are moist and warm due to which snowfall activity reduces and the temperatures keep going up. This is the reason why there is no snowfall during monsoons,” said Singh.

Meanwhile, the rescue operation named ‘Operation Dare Devil’, by a 32-member ITBP team to retrieve the bodies of the missing foreign mountaineers on Mount Nanda Devi, has been halted since past two days due to fresh snowfall, informed Girija Shankar Joshi, district information officer, Pithoragarh.

Joshi said the team has taken all the required equipment including a portable snow cutter, “through which snow would be cleared till June 21, as the team needs to make way to reach the trapped mountaineers.”

First Published:
Jun 20, 2019 10:33 IST

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