Shimla, Nov 24- The mid and higher hills and tribal areas in Himachal Pradesh reeled under cold wave conditions as the minimum temperatures were recorded between two to five degrees below normal today, the local MeT office said.
The minimum temperatures stayed between 10 to 14 degrees Celsius below the freezing point in the high altitude tribal areas and hovered around freezing point in the mid and lower hills, it said.
The minimum temperatures were recorded between two to five degrees Celsius below normal and farmers were eagerly waiting for rains and snowfall for sowing Rabi crops, it said.
Nearly 75 per cent cultivated area in the state is rain- fed and timely and adequate rains are essential for good Rabi crops.
Natural sources of water like lakes, rivulets and tributaries of snowfed rivers in the higher hills have frozen, drastically reducing discharge of water in major rivers, the officials said.
Himachal is power surplus during summers but faces acute shortage during the winters due to steep fall in power generation and increase in consumption and purchase of power from other states to meet the increased demand, they said.
This year, winters have set in early and as such, the demand for power has increased as heaters and other electric appliances are used by people to beat the cold, the officials said.
The night temperatures stayed at minus 7.5 degrees Celsius at Keylong while Manali, Kalpa, Bhuntar and Sundernagar shivered at minus 0.8 degree Celsius, minus 0.4 degrees Celsius, Bhuntar 0.6 degrees Celsius and 1.3 degrees Celsius, the local MeT said.
Chamba recorded a low of 2.2 degrees Celsius, followed by Solan 3.2 degrees Celsius, Una 4.8 degrees Celsius, Palampur and Bilaspur 5.0 degrees Celsius, Dharamsala 7.2 degrees Celsius and Nahan 8.8 degrees Celsius, it said.
The minimum temperature was below 6.0 degrees Celsius at most of the places in the mid and lower hills.
Thick fog engulfed the towns along the river banks and ground frost occurred in many places in the morning hampering vehicular traffic, the officials said.
However, the maximum day temperatures rose further and Una was hottest in the region with a high of 27.0 degrees Celsius, followed by Sundernagar 24.0 degrees Celsius, Bhuntar 21.1 degrees Celsius, Dharamshala 18.6 degrees Celsius, Shimla 18.2 degrees Celsius and Manali 15.0 degrees Celsius.
The local MeT office has forecast dry weather conditions in the region till the end of November. PTI