As heavy rain and snowfall hit several districts of Himachal Pradesh, all government and private schools remained closed in Kinnaur, Kullu and Kangra districts today. The state will not have respite from the bad weather as the weather office has forecast heavy rain and snowfall in the upper hills today.
Eight people died and hundreds, including school students, remained stranded across the state after incessant rainfall for the third consecutive day, triggering landslides and snapping over 200 road links, officials said.
Several roads in the state, especially in Kinnaur and Chamba districts, were blocked due to landslides, heavy rains and snowfall. Rohtang Pass received four feet of fresh snow on Sunday, and twenty people had to be rescued, officials informed.
Due to incessant rain, several rivers were flowing above the danger mark. The Chamba administration has warned residents to stay away from Ravi river and other water bodies as water will be released from the Chamera dam.
The water level in Beas is increasing due to incessant rains in the catchment areas. In Kangra, the Larji dam gates in Beas river are being opened. Himachal Pradesh received moderate-to-heavy rainfall since Saturday, with Naina Devi town in Bilaspur district being the wettest with 178.2 mm of rainfall. Several houses in Kullu town were swept away in flashfloods as the Beas is flowing above the danger mark.
Meanwhile, Delhi and NCR also received mild shower.
Here are the highlights on Himachal Pradesh rains and weather forecast:
The BJP legislator from Hamirpur Anurag Thakur, today sought Centre's assistance to compensate the losses due to heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh. He has asked the central government to support the rain-battered state through the disaster relief fund.
Earthquake of magnitude 3.7 occurred at 1422 hours in Himachal Pradesh's Sirmaur- ANI (@ANI) September 24, 2018
He said most of the areas in the state, particularly Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Sirmaur and Mandi districts, have been experiencing moderate to heavy rainfall, according to news agency IANS.
The government has announced closure of all educational institutions in Chamba, Kullu, Sirmaur, Kangra, Kullu and Hamirpur districts till September 25, while in Bilaspur and Shimla district on Monday.
An Indian Air Force chopper rescued 19 people on Sunday as they were stuck in a flash flood in Dobi in Kullu district.
A government spokesperson said Satluj, Beas and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries have been in spate in Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Bilaspur and Sirmaur districts, an IANS report said.
"We have advised people settled along the banks of the rivers to move to safer places," an official said here.
Authorities said excess water was discharged from the Pandoh diversion dam, located 112 km upstream of Pong dam, as a precautionary measure.
The Pandoh diversion dam is located on the Beas river in Mandi district. It diverts excess monsoon water towards the Pong dam. Otherwise, it diverts water towards the Satluj river which feeds the Gobind Sagar reservoir of the Bhakra dam.
However, the inflow of water into state's Pong and Bhakra dam increased dramatically due to heavy rainfall, but the authorities said there was no need for worry as the reservoirs still have surplus capacity to withhold additional water.
Officials said more showers in the state could aggravate the flood-like situation in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana.
Heavy landslides hit vehicular movement on the Chandigarh-Manali highway beyond Mandi town and on the Pathankot-Chamba highway. However, there was no loss of life.
After three consecutive days of incessant rains, most of the roads in the state interiors remained closed to traffic, stranding travellers and commuters, the IANS report said.
Road links to Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal have been cut off owing to landslips, a government official told IANS.
An official of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation said it would take a week to restart bus services between Manali via Keylong and Leh.
Meanwhile, the 13,050 feet high Rohtang Pass, the main tourist attraction and located 52 km from here, was closed, the IANS report said.
An official of the local Met office said there are chances of heavy rainfall at some places in the state till Monday and thereafter the intensity of rains will start receding.
Incessant rains have also caused massive landslides on national highways in Shimla, Kinnaur, Mandi and Kullu districts, hampering vehicular traffic.
The water level in the major rivers of the state - the Satluj, Beas and Yamuna - which enter the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana has also increased, a government official said.
Chief minister Amarinder Singh also called a meeting of senior officers on Monday to review arrangements to deal with flood-like situations, a spokesman of the Chief Minister's Office said in Chandigarh, according to PTI.
"Red alert has been issued in view of incessant rain in the state", he said.
District administrations have been asked to maintain constant vigil in view of rain, the spokesman said.
Punjab has been witnessing widespread rain for the last two days and the downpour continued Monday, prompting state authorities to review preparations to tackle flood-like situations.
They are stranded at Saurabh Van Vihar, a park, in Palampur. Two scooters and a car were washed away in the flash floods in the area, he said, the PTI report said.
Normal life is hit since Saturday due to heavy rains in the mid hills and plains, and snowfall in the upper hills of Himachal Pradesh.
"Two persons are stuck there. Fire brigade and rescue teams are at the spot. They are waiting for the water level to recede.
"However, Monday morning, the Kangra district administration made a requisition to the Army to rescue them," the official said.
On Sunday, as many as 19 people stranded at Dobi in Kullu district after flash floods and heavy rains were rescued by deploying an Indian Air Force chopper.
Schools in most districts were closed Monday as a precautionary measure. People residing in low-lying areas, especially in Kangra, Chamba and Mandi districts, are being evacuated, officials said.
They are also being asked to remain alert due to rising water levels in rivers and streams, they said.
In Chamba, the Ravi river is still flowing at a dangerous level and people are being evacuated from low-lying areas by the administration since Sunday, Superintendent of Police (SP) Monica Bhutunguru said.
The water level in the Beas river also rose abnormally touching the Chandigarh-Manali National Highway 21 near the Hanogi temple in Mandi district, the IANS report said.
While picturesque tourist town Manali recorded the highest rainfall in the state at 127 mm, it was 125 mm in Dharamsala, 124 mm in Una and 90 mm in Dalhousie.
State capital Shimla saw 47 mm rain.
Higher reaches of Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts saw snowfall.
The highway that connects Manali with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir has been closed for traffic owing to heavy snow, officials said.
A surplus of rain has been recorded in Delhi, of 224.5 mm, of over 105 per cent. It is said to be the highest since 2011, when 225.2 mm of rain was recorded.
The Met Office has forecast heavy rains and snowfall in the upper hills till Monday.
All government and private schools will remain closed in Kinnaur, Kullu and Kangra districts, officials said, according to the PTI report.
Several roads in various parts of the state, especially in Kinnaur and Chamba districts, were blocked due to landslides, heavy rains and snowfall, district officials said.
Twenty stranded people were rescued from the Rohtang Pass, which saw about four feet of fresh snowfall on Sunday, a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) official said.
On the question of tourists stuck in the Lahul Spiti region he said it is being monitored.
A tourist bus was washed away into a flooded river in Himachal Pradesh's Manali, a famous tourist destination in the state. The bus was empty when it was washed away into the flooded Beas river, news agency ANI said.