Switzerland, too, has been experiencing dramatic snowfalls, with depths of up to three meters. These snowfalls, especially those in northern Japan, are remarkable by any standards. But they still fall well short of the all-time record-breakers.
Tamarack in California claims the record for the deepest snow ever recorded: 11.5 meters on 11 March 1911. That was clearly some year in the Sierra Nevada, as Tamarack also recorded the largest snowfall in a single month in the US: almost 10 meters. -Guardian
Heaped snow in Red Square, Moscow, 21 January 2013.
Most of northern Russia was buried in heavy snowfalls this winter.
Col. Yogesh Nair, commander of the 38 Task Force of GREF here, told IANS. Rohtang Pass is the gateway to Keylong from Manali in Kullu district, but it remains off-limits from the rest of the country for over five months due to heavy snow deposits on the road. This time, Rohtang shut down in mid-December and since then, people of the Lahaul region have been holed up in their region. Nair said there was record snowfall in the region this season and the snow-clearing operation was a herculean task. “The road stretch near Rohtang Pass is under 100 to 120 feet of snow. Unusually high. It normally experiences 70 to 80 feet of snow. We will try to reopen the Manali-Keylong highway by April-end,” he said. Every year, after winter, GREF opens the Manali-Rohtang-Keylong highway by deploying more than 250 personnel and laborers.
The highway is also strategically important as it further connects to the forward areas of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region along the borders with China and Pakistan. “Our men are working in Arctic-like conditions where chances of snowstorms and avalanches still loom large. Last year, our laborers were caught in a snowstorm but were evacuated safely,” he said. The effort of GREF working in snowy and harsh climatic conditions is commendable since a sudden drop in temperature, even in summer, can trigger winter-like conditions. Oxygen near the Rohtang Pass is minimal and high velocity winds blow every afternoon. GREF has provided special uniforms to workers which weigh around five kg while the weight of a pair of shoes is two kg. Anti-glare sunglasses and gloves are also part of their uniform. With the help of global positioning system, engineers locate the road beneath the hill of the snow. After a bulldozer clears off the major snow, labourers manually clear the remaining snow with shovels. Residents of two dozen small and scattered villages with a population of over 20,000 in the Lahaul valley are eagerly awaiting restoration of the road traffic. A government-run helicopter, which also operates once a week between district headquarters Keylong and Manali, is the only mode of transportation for them these days. “Since late last December, we have been cut off from the rest of the world. We are awaiting reopening of roads,” Mohan Bodh, a resident of Chokhang village in Lahaul, told IANS. –Daijiworld