The usually lush green lawns are now covered in frost, and dense fog has significantly impacted visibility. As a result, people are facing health issues due to the dipping mercury.This cold and dry spell is typically experienced during November-December, according to locals. To combat the cold, many locals are resorting to sitting around bonfires for warmth.
Official data revealed that Kanthal and Thalaikuntha in Ooty recorded temperatures of 1 degree Celsius, while the Botanical Garden registered 2 degrees Celsius. Sandynallah was relatively warmer at 3 degrees Celsius. The sudden drop in temperature has raised concerns among residents and environmental activists.
V Sivadas from the Nilagiri Environment Social Trust (NEST) attributed this change to global warming and the El Nino effect. He said, “The onset of the cold is delayed and such a climatic change is a big challenge to the Nilgiris and study should be conducted about this.”
The local tea plantation, which is a major industry in the area, is also facing difficulties. Heavy rains in December, followed by the cold weather, have negatively impacted tea production. R Sukumaran, the secretary of a local tea workers union, expresses concerns about the potential long-term effects on production. Vegetable farmers, particularly those growing cabbages, are also feeling the impact of the weather.
N Ravichandran, a government employee, expressed the challenges of leaving home early for work in the cold weather. Despite wearing appropriate clothing to stay warm, driving two-wheelers remained a daunting task, resulting in health issues like breathing difficulties, severe headaches, and fever.