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| Last Updated:19/09/2020

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Changing weather pattern takes away snow from Shimla

Harsh winters and heavy snowfalls are becoming a thing of the past in the hill town. The variation in weather pattern may be a major reason behind the changing climatic conditions here. Light to moderate snowfalls occur more in February and March instead of December and January. Snowfall in November has eluded for the past 25 years while moderate to heavy rain is a regular phenomenon.

The frequency of snowfall has become lesser in December barring 1990-91 when the town received 203.9 cm snow.

Frequent heavy snowfall was witnessed in January for many years, but heavy snowfall in February and March is a rising trend. Shimla recorded a maximum 262.2 cm snow in 1989-90 and 239.6 cm in 1990-91. Since then, the hill town has received just 1.8 cm snow in 2009-10, 9.9 cm in 2000-01, 34.2 cm in 2007-08 and 43.5 cm in 2008-09.

More than 100 cm snow was recorded in 1995-96 (199.1 cm), 2001-02 (186.7 cm), 1997-98 (151 cm), 1992-93(145.8 cm), 1999-2000 (132.6 cm), 2004-05(124.6 cm), 2011-12(119.4 cm) and 1993-94 (110.2 cm). However, only 7.2 cm and 12 cm of snow have been recorded in December and January (till date) during 2013-14. However, rainfall has become more frequent in Shimla and the town recorded moderate to heavy rain during the winters.

While the town recorded zero snowfall in 2005-06, the rainfall was 199.6 mm and in 2009-10, the snowfall was just 1.8 cm, but rainfall was 127.5 mm. The total precipitation in winters was highest at 556.7 mm in 1989-90, followed by 502.6 mm in 1997-98, 412.9 mm in 1992-93, 399.0 cm in 1992-93, 391.8 mm in 1995-96, 379.2 mm in 2006-07, 376.8 in 2004-05, 350.3 cm in 2001-02 and 341.1 mm in 1994-95.

The ski slopes of Kufri and Narkanda, which used to be covered under six to eight feet snow during January and February, are devoid of snow.

The ski festival was last held at Kufri in 1967 and barring 1990-91 when the town received about six feet of snow, skiing at Kufri has become a thing of the past.

Skiers shifted to Narkanda to enjoy winter sports, but now Narkanda is also not receiving enough snowfall.

The Tribune (30-01-2014)