Climate of Himachal Pradesh

More than 2400km long and some 160km wide, the Himalayas are the greatest physical feature on earth. and Himachal Pradesh is a generous section of this huge formation.

The name itself is descriptive of its characteristics – Himachal being an ancient Sanskrit compound of hima (snow) and achal (that which cannot be moved) – and thus simply means ‘the Mountain State’.

There is great diversification in the climatic conditions of Himachal Pradesh due to variation in elevation (450-6500mtrs). It varies from hot and sub-humid tropical (450-900mtrs) in the southern Low tracts, warm and temperate (900-1800mtrs), cool and temperate (1900-2400mtrs) and cold alpine and glacial (2400-4800mtrs) in the northern and eastern high mountain ranges.

The region generally experiences three seasons. The winter season spans from October to February. The summer months in Himachal are the months of March to June. By July the rainy season starts in the hilly region and it ends in September. In the winter months, some parts of Himachal experiences heavy snow fall. It occurs generally in the months of December to March.

The days and nights during this time of the year become very cold. Average snowfall at elevations of above 3000 meters is about 3 meters and lasts from December to March. About 4500 mtrs, is perpetual snow.

The main season is the spring from mid- Feb to March-April. The air is cool and fresh. Colorful flowers adorn the valleys, forest slopes and meadows. In the hill stations, the climate is pleasant and comfortable.

The rains start at the end of June. The entire landscape becomes green and fresh. Streams begin to swell and springs are replenished. The heavy rains in July and August cause damage to erosion, floods and landslides.

Dharamshala has the highest rainfall of 3400mm. Spiti is the driest area (below 50mm rainfall) being enclosed by high mountains on all sides.

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