As snow eluded Himachal Pradesh's capital Shimla and the picturesque tourist town of Manali on New Year's Eve, they along with other high hill destinations may experience widespread rain and snow this week, weather officials said on Sunday.

"A fresh western disturbance and its associated induced cyclonic circulation is likely to hit Western Himalayan region from January 3," a statement by the meteorological office here said.


"Under its influence, precipitation is likely to increase from January 3 in intensity and distribution with fairly widespread to widespread light or moderate rainfall in the plains and low hills and light to moderate rainfall or snowfall in the mid and high hills from January 3 to 6," it said.

The Met said isolated heavy rainfall or snowfall is very likely in Shimla, Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu, Chamba, Kangra and Mandi districts between January 4 and 5. Light to moderate rainfall is likely in rest parts of the state.

In view of chances of thunderstorm and lighting with hailstorm at isolated parts in the state from January 4 to 5, the Met asked the state authorities and the public to take adequate safety measures.


Meanwhile, Shimla residents shivered as icy winds brought down the minimum temperature to 5.1 degrees Celsius, while it was 2.6 degrees in Kufri, near here.

Peaks overlooking popular tourist sites like Shimla, Dharamsala and Palampur are already wrapped in blanket of snow.

Tourists from the plains may begin to descend on Manali, Shimla and Kufri with chances of snowfall this week.

"We are hopeful of getting tourists in good numbers in Shimla and nearby areas with chances of snow for the first time this year," Shimla hotelier D.P. Bhatia told IANS.