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Icicles form in Shimla, sub-zero temperatures freeze HP

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Shimla, Jan 12 (IANS) Icicles formed in a large part of this Himachal Pradesh capital after many years with the minimum temperature remaining below sub-zero on the sixth consecutive day on Thursday. The weathermen forecast more rain and snow later this weekend.

Old-timers said icicles, a common feature till 1980s, have brought alive memories for them. They are conjuring up a delightful spectacle for tourists too.

"It’s really memorable to see the icicles everywhere after a long time," octogenarian Balbir Jaswal, who lives in Jakhu hills, the highest point of the town, told IANS.

He said the icicles were a common sight in Shimla once.

"For the past five-six years, they were surfacing but only in some localities of Shimla, like Jakhu and the US Club."

Another resident, Neelam Sharma said that in some areas the icicles were as long as five feet.

"This time the size of icicles is quite big, indicating a return of harsh winters. They have been surfacing for almost a decade, but the size was too small and hence they thawed in just a few days," she said.

Icicle, a pendent spear of ice formed by the freezing of dripping rooftop water, indicates harsh winter.

"It’s really refreshing to see icicles hanging outside the window of my hotel," said Radhika Shroff, a tourist from Mumbai.

The minimum temperature in Shimla, which received more than 83 cm of snowfall over the weekend, was minus 0.6 degree Celsius, up from Wednesday’s minus 3.2 degrees.

Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district was the coldest place in the state. It recorded a night temperature of minus 14.9 degrees Celsius, a fall of 3.5 degrees from Wednesday.

Manali, which is still wrapped in a thick blanket of snow, recorded a low of minus 7.2 degrees Celsius, while it was minus 8 degrees in Kalpa and 4.8 degrees above the freezing point in Dharamsala.

Manmohan Singh, Director of the Meteorological Office here, told IANS that the chances of more snowfall in mid and higher hills are more on January 15 as Western disturbances are approaching the region.

Western disturbance is a meteorological term for a storm system emanating from the Mediterranean Sea which causes rain or snowfall in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent.

Popular tourist destinations of Himachal Pradesh like Shimla, Kasauli, Chail, Kufri, Narkanda, Manali and Dalhousie may experience more snow, then forecast said.

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