Shimla, Jan 1 (IANS) If you want to enjoy the snowfall in Himachal Pradesh, extend your stay as the Met office on Tuesday predicted snow this week.
Meteorological office Director Manmohan Singh told IANS that a western disturbance is likely to be active in the region from January 1, bringing rain and snowfall.
Shimla, the Queen of Hills, is recording the "warmest" days owing to long sunny spells, while cities like Chandigarh, Amritsar, Karnal, New Delhi and Lucknow, located in the plains, are reeling under cold wave conditions with the sun fogged out.
Hill destinations have been experiencing long hours of sunny weather for over a week and the day temperatures in most places have risen.
Another official at the Shimla meteorological bureau said the maximum temperature in the hill state is one-two degrees above the season's average.
But nights and mornings are intensely cold.
"Under the influence of western disturbance, light to moderate scattered rainfall and snowfall would occur in the state till January 2. Another western disturbance would be active from January 4 with another chance of widespread precipitation," he said.
The probability of snowfall in Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Manali, Kalpa and Dalhousie is high till January 6.
Members of the hospitality industry said most of the tourists were enquiring about the chances of snowfall.
Despite prevailing dry weather, most of the hotels in Shimla, Kufri, Kasauli, Chail, Dharamsala, Palampur and Manali were jam-packed to ring in the New Year.
"Some of our guests are preferring to extend their stay with a hope to enjoy the snowfall," D.P. Bhatia, liaison officer with the Oberoi Group, told IANS.
Akansha Malhotra and Aryaman, a couple from New Delhi, said they have extended their New Year holidays in Shimla "as there are chances of snowfall".
The mountain peaks viewed from Shimla, and the Dhauladhar peaks overlooking Tibetan Buddhist leader Dalai Lama's official palace in McLeodganj near Dharamsala are covered by a white blanket.
Tourist arrivals in the hill state every year surpasses the state's population of about 6.5 million.
Kullu-Manali has emerged as a favourite tourist destination in the state, followed by Shimla and Dharamsala, according to the state Tourism Department's surveys.
A five-day winter carnival in Manali, beginning January 2, is an added draw for tourists who want to extend their stay.
In Shimla, located around 7,000 feet above sea level, the minimum temperature was 5.2 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, whereas the maximum was 16.3 degrees on Monday.
The night temperature in Dharamsala was 4.4 degrees Celsius, whereas popular tourist resort Manali saw a low of minus 0.2 degree.
At minus 6.8 degree, Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district was the coldest in the state, while Kalpa, some 250 km from the state capital, saw a low of minus 3.4 degree.