Siliguri to Tindharia witness heavy hailstorm

Darjeeling toy train passes through the hailstorm-hit Tindharia
Darjeeling: Siliguri in the plains and Tindharia at an altitude of 2,822 feet witnessed heavy hailstorm on Thursday. As a cold wave swept over North Bengal and Sikkim, the higher reaches of Sikkim and Darjeeling district witnessed snowfall, while the lower reaches witnessed rain and hail. The day had started on a clear note in the plains of Siliguri. However, at around 10 am there was heavy thundering accompanied by rain and hail, which continued for nearly an hour. With the roads being enveloped in white, traffic came to a standstill in many areas of Siliguri and people remained indoors as mercury dipped considerably. However, post noon it was a sunny day in Siliguri again.


Siliguri street covered in hailstones
Siliguri street covered in hailstones
Meanwhile in Tindharia, 23 km from Siliguri and Kurseong, the day started with overcast sky. It started to rain followed by a hailstorm from around 11.30 am. Soon, Tindharia was enveloped in hail. "I had witnessed such a hailstorm in the mid 1970s," said an octogenarian. Owing to the hail, vehicular traffic and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway services were interrupted. Higher reaches of the district including Sandakphu (12,000 ft) witnessed snowfall. "There is a rush of tourists. However, with night temperatures of Sandakphu much below 0 degree Celsius, we are advising the tourists to stay in places like Tonglu enroute to Sandakphu," said Chandan Pradhan of the Singhalila Land Rover Owners' Association.
House wrapped in a white blanket at Tindharia
House wrapped in a white blanket at Tindharia


Though icy winds swept throughout the day with plummeting temperature, it was sunny in Darjeeling, whereas there was heavy snowfall in the higher reaches of Sikkim. "There was prediction of snowfall and hailstorm. This is owing to an upper air cyclonic circulation over Bihar and East Uttar Pradesh resulting in snow in the upper reaches and rain and hailstorm in lower altitudes. Weather condition is expected to improve from Saturday. However, night temperatures will fall," stated Dr Gopinath Raha of the Indian Meteorological Department, Gangtok.

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Darjeeling: Siliguri in the plains and Tindharia at an altitude of 2,822 feet witnessed heavy hailstorm on Thursday. As a cold wave swept over North Bengal and Sikkim, the higher reaches of Sikkim and Darjeeling district witnessed snowfall

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