SHIMLA: A fresh western disturbance is going to affect the western Himalaya region from December 22 due to which rain and snowfall would occur in the middle of the night. This may affect to have a perfect ‘white christams’ for residents of Shimla, a sight that was awaited for the last 23 years.

“Snowfall remains a major attraction for tourists coming here for yearend celebrations. We have that on December 22 Shimla and surrounding areas receive snowfall to attract otherwise tourists would be diverted towards the places having snowfall,” said Shimla based hotelier Surender Thakur.

But it seems Shimla would have to wait for season’s first snowfall as weekly forecast issued by the meteorological department has predicted light rain for Shimla on December 22.

Less snowfall in winters especially during December month is being associated with the climate change and global warming. A report by State Centre on Climate Change, HP, has revealed that in Shimla and Solan the total snowfall received during 1973-75 period was 190.53 cm which in 1981-85 increased to 827.38 cm, declined to 101.9 cm in 1986-1990 further reduced to 78 cm in 2006-07, and it was only 15 cm in the year 2009.

A study has revealed that warming rate of Shimla was higher than Leh and Srinagar during the period from 1991-2002 as compared to earlier decades and the gross rise in the mean air temperature during 1980-2002 periods in north western Himalayas as a whole was about 2.2 degrees Celsius.

Last 23 year’s wait to celebrate “White Christmas” in Shimla would not be fulfilled this time either as Queen of Hills would only have partly cloudy weather from December 23 to 26. A fresh Western Disturbance is going to affect Western Himalayan region from December 22 onwards due to which rain and snowfall would occur at middle and high hills on December 22 and in the high hills on December 23 but after that weather would remain dry till December 26.

Naresh Sharma a tour operator in Shimla said that there was a time when Shimla used to receive plenty of snowfall in December. “Tourists come here to enjoy snow and not the bone chilling cold weather. If snow would disappear then we would lose out tourism business too,” he added.

In 1989, Shimla had received snowfall from December 22 to 24, in 1995 from December 21 to 22 while in 2013 on December 23. Last year, seasons first snowfall was recorded on December 13 and 14 but after that snowfall had eluded the town on Christmas and New Year.