Normal life across Nepal has remained affected by rains since Tuesday night. Mountainous and hilly regions have also recorded snowfalls, triggering a sharp fall in temperatures. Even the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley have witnessed light snowfall. The winter rains and snowfalls have increased cold, forcing people to light outdoor fire in order to keep themselves warm. As per the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DHM), the Kathmandu Valley recorded 37.4 mm of rain in 24 hours on Wednesday when its temperature dipped to 8.8 degrees Celsius. Rupandehi district and Barpak of Gorkha district received the highest rainfall of 52.5 and 52 mm in the last 24 hours. On Thursday, the temperature went further down to 6 degree Celsius. There has been a sudden change in weather due to the impact of the westerly and low pressure systems created in Bihar and other parts of neighbouring India.
Although the weather has started improving gradually since Thursday, the DHM has forecasted that some parts of the country might continue to witness light rains and snowfalls even for some days to come. Overland transportations have faced a snag owing to the dumping of snow on many roads in the mountain region. Even air services were disrupted with continuous rains and snowfalls. However, the situation is now returning to normal gradually. But people living in high mountain regions may also suffer from hypothermia, which is a perilous drop in body temperature. This condition is usually caused by protracted exposure to cold temperatures. With the arrival of winter, there is increased risks of illnesses related to cold. When anyone reels from hypothermia, s/he may lose the ability to understand what is happening in the body and make intelligent choices to get to safety. Health experts advise people to avoid prolonged exposure to cold in order to remain safe from this problem.
There is also a possibility of cold waves sweeping the Terai plains with the drop in temperature there. It is the poor families that are at risk of being adversely affected by cold snaps. The homeless and others who cannot manage warm clothes and heat their homes suffer the most during the cold season. Though the rains and snowfalls have made people's life difficult, especially in the mountainous and hilly regions, such phenomena have proved blessing in disguise for farmers. The winter precipitations have given a huge respite to them. They were worried that the production of winter crops would decrease and it would be hard to till the farms that lacked moisture. But things have changed for the better with the fresh rains and snowfalls. This year's winter crop yields are expected to increase significantly. Farmers in many districts of the Terai and hilly regions had to suffer a huge loss as the unexpected downpours that occurred during the paddy harvesting season following this year’s Dashain festival.
However, the latest rains have contributed to making the environment cleaner across the country. The urban areas, especially the Kathmandu Valley, had turned out to be quite polluted before the winter rains. Dust and air pollutions have been a common phenomenon in the capital valley where road digging and construction works have been going on in a haphazard manner. The number of privately owned vehicles has been on the rise due to lack of reliable public transport system in the urban areas. Even the old and rickety vehicles have been in operation. Anyway, the relevant authorities should make sure that the needy lot gets all the required help to cope with the cold.