Kerala hill station Munnar experienced frost over the weekend with the temperature dipping to minus three degrees Celsius on Saturday, The News Minute reported. The hills and valleys of Kannimala, Chenduvara, Chittuvara, Sevenvalley, Nallathanni and Munnar town were covered in frost, leading to a rise in the number of tourists visiting the scenic station.
In Chenduvara, Chittuvara and Lakkad areas, the temperature was recorded at -3 degrees Celsius on Saturday, while Munnar town recorded -1 degree Celsius.
Several places in neighbouring Tamil Nadu also saw a sharp dip in temperatures, with Valparai, Ooty and Kodaikanal recording single-digit temperatures last week. Interior districts like Vellore and Krishnagiri were also colder than average.
The India Meteorological Department last week had predicted that ground frost would occur at a few places in the hills of Nilgiris, Coimbatore and Dindigul districts in Tamil Nadu. The cold wave in the state started on January 1, with the retreat of the northeast monsoon from south India.
Munnar Hotel and Resorts Association President VV George said a lot of tourists visited the hill station to enjoy the frost-covered hills. “Most of the hotels and resorts are fully booked in the last two weeks and have a good number of bookings for the coming days,” he said. “We hope the tourist arrivals will continue in the next weeks.”
Tourism in the area was hit last year in the aftermath of cyclone Gaja and the devastating floods.
However, the frost could wreak havoc on Munnar’s tea plantations as tea leaves wilt due to heavy frosting. “Tea leaves grown in 828 hectare-area belonging to Kannan Devan Hills Plantations are wilting away due to the bad weather in the region,” said an unidentified plantation official. “The damaged tea leaves could weigh around 6.31 lakh kg.”
The plantation had also lost a lot of crop when the temperature had fallen to -2 degrees Celsius last year, The New Indian Express reported. The official added that damage has been more widespread due to the continuous spell of sub-zero weather from January 1.