Munnar: Mercury dipped below zero degrees Celsius at several locations in Munnar , Kerala's popular hill station, for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, leaving large areas covered with frost.
Minus one degree Celsius was recorded at the following areas on Friday morning: Kannimala near Munnar town and the far-off plantation areas such as Chenduvara, Chittuvara, Kundala, Devikulam Factory, ODK and Cement Paalam. Meanwhile, the temperature was zero degrees at Munnar town, Old Munnar and Lakshmi. Incidentally, Kannimala had recorded a temperature of minus three degrees Celsius on Wednesday leading to widespread frost.
The frost has adversely affected tea plants on hundreds of acres as well as natural grasslands in the region. These green patches have already wilted and are drying up due to the extreme cold. Even while sub-zero temperatures are experienced at night, warm weather prevails during daytime in the region. In fact, the mercury rises to a maximum of 20-25 degrees Celsius during the day.
With the extreme weather destroying plantations, tea production would be hit in the coming days, said industry experts. The fall in tea output is also expected to cause a hike in prices, they added.
Among the worst-hit areas is Lakkad estate in Devikulam where tea shrubs in five divisions have been destroyed.