By Indira Aryal Kathmandu, Dec. 30: The country from Ilam in the east to Baitadi in the west has been witnessing rain and snowfall from Tuesday night. While it is raining in the lower hills and the Terai, snowfall has affected life in the high hilly and Himalayan regions.
The Kathmandu Valley is also receiving rainfall and snow from Tuesday night. While the city was drenched with rain, the high hills surrounding the valley received snowfall. The rains and snowfall have intensified cold prompting denizens to make a fire to keep themselves warm. As the rains resulted in poor visibility, 65 domestic flights were cancelled on Wednesday, according to the Tribhuvan International Airport office.
Spokesperson of TIA office Prem Nath Thakur said that most of the domestic flights were cancelled while international ones were delayed because of poor visibility. According to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DHM), Kathmandu received 37.4 mm of rain in the last 24 hours and the valley temperature dipped to 8.8 degrees Celsius today and is likely to drop further to 6 degrees Celsius on Thursday.
Barpak of Gorkha district and Rupendehi received heavy rainfall with 52 and 52.5 mm in the last 24 hours, said Manju Basi, senior meteorologist at the DHM. It has been snowing around Kathmandu Valley including Chandragiri, Phulchoki, Daman and other hills near the Kathmandu Valley. People are crowding those areas to play with snow from Wednesday morning. At present, the country is under the influence of the western low-pressure system and the low-pressure area around Bihar of India, said Basi.
Most parts of the country are receiving light to moderate rains, while light to moderate snow was falling in the high hills and mountainous areas till Wednesday evening. Meteorologist at DHM Prajna Shakya said the weather would be clear from Thursday afternoon in the valley. On Thursday, moderate cloud cover is expected across the country. Light showers are expected in a few places in the hilly areas and light to moderate snowfall is expected in some parts of high hilly and mountainous areas, she added.
Similarly, there will be partial to normal cloud cover in the hilly areas of the country and partial cloud cover in the rest of the country on Thursday night. There is a possibility of light snowfall in a few places in the high hilly and mountainous terrain of Province 1, Bagmati Province and Gandaki Province, according to DHM. Light rain is expected in one or two parts of Gandaki Province and Province 1 and light snow is expected in one or two places in high hilly and mountainous areas of the province on Friday.
Partial to normal cloud cover in the hilly areas of Province 1, Bagmati Province and Gandaki Province and partial cloud cover in the rest of the country is expected Friday night. There is a possibility of light snowfall in one or two places in the high hilly and mountainous terrain of Province 1, Bagmati Province and Gandaki Province, Meteorologist Basi said. The DHM asked to take necessary precautions to avoid the effects of cold and snowfall as it is possible daily life of the people including mountaineering and air transport are likely to be affected by the current weather system.
Meanwhile, life was affected by snowfall in districts across the Himalayas since Tuesday. The Area Police Office, Chhusang, has rescued a team that was on a trip to Upper Mustang after it got stuck in the snow in Vena. According to Netra Prasad Sharma, Chief District Officer of Mustang, communication has been cut off in Lomanthang in Upper Mustang since Tuesday evening. Snow has fallen from the Ghasa, in the lower part of the district, to Lomanthang since yesterday.
According to the District Police Office, Myagdi, there has also been snowfall in Ghorepani, Punhill, Mahredanda, Khopralek, Gurja, Mudil and other upper parts of Annapurna Rural Municipality since Wednesday morning. Similarly, Ilam also received snowfall in high hilly areas including Sandakpur, Jaubari, Meghma and Tumling Lagat since Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, our correspondent from Solukhumbu reported that this was the second time the Himalayan district had received snowfall.
According to the locals, the Khumbu area received more than one foot snowfall and life of the people has become difficult due to extreme cold. Flights to both airports in Solukhumbu have been completely disrupted due to heavy snowfall since Tuesday night. All flights to Lukla and Tenzing Hillary Airport in Phaplu, a busy tourist destination in Solukhumbu, have been disrupted.
Meanwhile, our correspondent in Taplejung said that heavy snow has fallen in the high mountainous region along with rain since Tuesday. The rain that started on Tuesday evening has been continuing accompanied by snowfall since Wednesday morning in the Himalayan region.
Rajendra Mahat, a local businessman of Phedi Bazaar in the Pathibhara area, informed that up to three feet of snow fell on the famous pilgrimage site Pathibhara located at an altitude of 3,794 metres. Flights have been disrupted due to heavy snowfall up to the airport area of Taplejung. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, the flight was affected due to heavy snowfall at Suketar Airport at an altitude of 2,400 meters.
According to Lokendra Limbu, Taplejung station in-charge of Nepal Airlines Corporation, passengers who had booked tickets for Kathmandu on Wednesday were stopped after the flight was cancelled due to snow. Likewise, our Sindhupalchowk correspondent Chitra Mijar reported snowfall has disrupted life in the mountainous region of the district.
Heavy snow has fallen in the tourist areas of Helambu, Shermathan, Mude and Jethal of Lisankhupakhar Rural Municipality, Tauthali, Jaljale, Piskar of Tripura Sundari Rural Municipality and Dolangsa, Bigu and Ghorthali of Barhabise Rural Municipality. Meanwhile, in Sarlahi, life has been affected by the sudden change in weather. The backward Dalit families, including Musahar, Dome and Chamar, have been most affected by the extreme cold.