Snow makes its appearance at ‘Kashmir of Orissa'
Snow began to appear at Daringbadi in Kandhamal district as mercury dipped to a freezing point at this place, which is called Kashmir of Orissa.
Meteorological officer of Kandhmaal district Bijay Behera said on Thursday the temperature at Phulbani, the district headquarters town, was 3 degrees Celsius, lowest recorded temperature of this winter among meteorological centre's weather observation stations. Mr Behera said usually the temperature in higher altitudes of Kandhamal district like Daringbadi and Belaghar remained low by at least three degrees in comparison to Phulbani.
As per locals of Daringbadi, their thermometers have started to show -1 degree Celsius. Mr Behera said when temperature dipped to this low; appearance of snow was a natural phenomenon in places like Daringbadi. On Thursday morning there were reports of snow appearing on vegetation at Daringbadi. This has also started to attract tourists to this remote hill station. Tourist flow is good as there have been no reports of any violence in the district in recent past.
But worst affected by this extreme cold temperature are the tribals, dalits and poor living in remote areas of Kandhamal district. For them fire and ‘kantha' are the only weapons to fight the cold. In Daringbadi and its adjoining areas inhabitants are compelled to make bonfire at their house throughout day and night to keep themselves warm as blankets and woolen clothes are still out of reach for most of them.
Instead of blankets they use ‘kanthas' that are nothing but old clothes put together and sewn up in the form of blanket. Old newspapers and cardboards are also in heavy demand for them as these are being used as insulators to prevent their sleeping place from getting chilled by the freezing floor.
Interior pockets of the State continued to reel under severe cold wave.
Normal life has been badly affected during night in northern and western part of Orissa districts as people chose to stay indoors due to ever plummeting mercury level. They could expect worse as Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre here forecast that the cold wave condition would prevail for the next 48 hours.
At 14 places minimum temperature on Thursday dropped below 10 degree Celsius. “Wind from north and northwest direction is triggering chilly weather in the State. Clear sky and low humidity create conducive condition for continuance of cold wave,” said S. C. Sahu, director of Bhubaneswar Met Centre.
Although there were previous records of minimum temperature going below zero degree Celsius in the State, but continuation of cold wave more than 20 days was a new phenomenon in recent time, said Mr. Sahu.
Meanwhile, two persons were said to have died in severe cold wave. However, district Collectors were yet to confirm the deaths.
Districts like Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Kalahandi and Sambalpur were particularly affected by the cold wave. Night time temperatures were hovering around six degree Celsius for past few days. Situation was worse in places like Daringbadi, Tensa and Kanjipani which traditional experience drop in temperature during every winter.
Except regular passenger bus services, vehicular movements on roads were noticed to be very thin during nights.