Shimla: Heavy showers lashed most parts of Himachal Pradesh on Monday while high-altitude tribal areas received another spell of snowfall, providing the much needed relief to people from the scorching sun.
The mercury, which was running six to eight degrees above normal for the past two weeks, plummeted after rains and thunderstorm, which also extinguished forest fires in the lower and mid-hills.
In the state capital Shimla, heavy rains and thunderstorm lasted for about two hours, causing a sharp fall in the mercury. Strong velocity winds swept the region and the sky remained heavily overcast.
Key tourist destinations of Dharamsala, Palampur, Manali, Kullu, Chail, Kasauli, Chamba and Barog also received rains. Several areas in Kangra and Una also saw rainfall, bringing cheers to farmers who were facing a shortage of fodder for animals due to prolonged dry spell and soaring temperature.
Rains in Dharamsala and Kangra, meanwhile, brought down the temperature by 4 to 5 degrees, an official of the Meteorological department said.
The department has predicted that western disturbance can bring more rains in Dharamshala and the surrounding areas in the coming days. According to the department, June 1 could be the last hot day of the season, after which the maximum temperature may show a downward trend.
Several areas in the state had received mild rains last evening also. Manali recorded 15 mm of rains, followed by Keylong and Chamba 8 mm each, Dehragopipur 7 mm, Seobagh and Una 5 each and Bhuntar and Bajura 4 mm each till this morning.
The rain shower, however, affected traffic movement. The traffic on Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft) which was opened for tourist vehicles yesterday was again suspended and several buses which left for Lahaul via Rohtang Pass had to return as fresh snowfall and rains made driving hazardous.
The rains are considered beneficial for paddy sowing in lower hills and stone-fruit crop in mid and higher hills.