Anup Ojha & Lal Prasad Sharm
ANN/THE KATHMANDU POST – Western disturbances in the last few days have led to extreme cold conditions with the mountainous districts witnessing moderate to heavy snowfall, the lower regions experiencing rainfall and a few Tarai districts have been battered by windstorms. The weather pattern will stay the same until next week, according to the Meteorological Forecasting Division.
“The effect of the westerly winds has brought a change in the weather pattern that started from the Far West region of the country three days ago,” said meteorologist at the Meteorological Forecasting Division Prativa Manandhar.
According to a Division report, the effect of the westerly disturbance has resulted in cloudy conditions across the country with light to moderate rain on Friday.
The westerly disturbance has caused heavy snowfall, disrupting daily life and bringing the transportation system across the country to a halt. “Most parts of the country, including Kathmandu Valley, were covered by rain clouds on Friday with light rain and snowfall in the surrounding hills since early morning. The rain clouds will last till Saturday afternoon, and there is likely to be light rain,” said Manandhar.
According to Manandhar, the daily temperature in Kathmandu Valley is likely to decrease by two to three degrees Celsius. On Friday, Kathmandu recorded a minimum temperature of 5.5 degrees Celsius and a maximum temperature of 16.5 degrees Celsius. The extreme minimum temperature ever recorded in Kathmandu was -two degrees Celsius on December 31, 1977.
According to the Division, the minimum temperature in the Valley this winter was 5.4 degrees Celsius on December 11 last year.
According to the Division’s chart on Friday, Jumla district witnessed the lowest temperature in the country at minus one degree Celsius followed by Dadeldhura, which recorded a temperature of minus 0.6 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, the highest temperature was reported in Biratnagar at 23.7 degrees Celsius, followed by Janakpur at 23.6 degrees Celsius. The weather condition has disrupted transportation, phone and Internet networks in several high altitude districts in six provinces, except for Lumbini.
In Province 1, continuous snowfall in Solukhumbhu for the past two days has led to extreme cold. Khumjung, Namche Bazaar, Lukla, Salleri and Pattale in the district have been receiving heavy snowfall since Thursday. Namche Bazaar is blanketed in at least two feet of snow with the temperature dipping as low as minus eight degrees Celsius, according to local residents.
Vehicles leaving Solukhumbu on Friday could not move past Patale Bazaar, the entry point to the district. “More than 45 vehicles used to leave the district every day. But today, not a single one left Pattale because of snowfall,” said District Traffic Police Chief Krishna Katawal.
In Madhes Province, strong winds claimed three lives on Friday. Two boys in Dhanusha died on the spot after a tree fell on them while a 45-year-old woman from Rautahat died after her house collapsed in a windstorm.
Superintendent of Police Tul Bahadur Karki, spokesperson at the Province Police Office in Janakpur, informed that the two boys, aged eight and 12, died on the premises of Fakirchand Secondary School in Dhanusha.
Meanwhile, the woman from Rautahat, who had sustained serious injuries after her house collapsed on her, died while being taken to a health centre in Maulapur for treatment, said Police Inspector Sushil Kumar Pandey. The Provincial Police Office also informed that the windstorm blew the roofs of five houses at a Musahar settlement in Khesraha of Pakahamainpur Rural Municipality in Parsa district.
Meanwhile, a programme to mark the anniversary of the Province Assembly of Madhes Province was called off after a windstorm swept away the tents set up on the Province Assembly premises in Janakpur on Friday. In Bagmati Province, high altitude regions such as Rasuwa, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Sindhupalchok and Makawanpur districts have also been witnessing snowfall for the past few days. Beding village in Gaurishankar Rural Municipality of Dolakha has been receiving snowfall for the past week while around two dozen villages in the district have been completely blanketed in snow.
“Beding has received around five feet of snow so far,” said Dawa Tsering Sherpa, a local resident. “We have been unable to come out of our homes for the past one week.”
The Daman section of the Tribhuvan Highway has remained disrupted since Friday morning.
Police Inspector Shreeram Timilsina informed that around one foot of snow has covered the Golmod-Daman road section of the highway.
Likewise, Helambu Rural Municipality in Sindhupalchok has also witnessed over three feet of snow, according to rural municipality vice-chairperson Kopila Pandit.
Several districts of Gandaki Province also witnessed heavy snowfall and rain on Friday. Temperatures have plummeted in the region as high-altitude districts received heavy snowfall while the hilly areas received rainfall throughout the day.
In Manang, almost all highland settlements have been witnessing snowfall since Thursday afternoon. Manang Chief District Officer Rabindra Prasad Acharya informed that Manang, Tanki Manang, Humde, Pisang, Nar and Phu, Kyang, Chyakhu and Chame Bazaar, the district headquarters, have been witnessing heavy snowfall.