Nepal reels under chilly weather

Kathmandu, January 3

Many parts of Nepal reeled under cold weather today as light rain brought down temperatures across the country. Kathmandu was shrouded in a blanket of fog where maximum temperature fell by almost half to 9.9 degrees Celsius today, down from 18 degrees Celsius yesterday.

A rapid fall in maximum temperature makes the day chillier. Kathmandu reported a minimum temperature of five degrees Celsius.

Meteorological Forecasting Division stated that maximum temperature would go up moderately tomorrow. “So, tomorrow won’t be as cold as today,” said Min Kumar Aryal, a meteorologist. But Kathmandu will witness light rain tomorrow as well, according to the division. It has predicted weather to improve in Kathmandu only after Sunday.

The inclement weather is the result of ‘western low pressure’ which triggered rains, according to MFD.

Kathmandu reported 3.8 mm rainfall today, whereas Pokhara saw 30 mm and Dipayal received the highest 62.3 mm of rainfall in the country. The ‘low wind pressure’ is also expected to trigger snowfall in high hilly and mountainous areas.

“There are clouds laden with moisture in the hills above 3,000 m, therefore snowfall is likely,” Aryal said.

MFD records weather in 19 places across the country. Among them, Jiri recorded maximum temperature of one degree Celsius and a minimum temperature of — 0.5 degree Celsius today.

The maximum temperature in Jiri stood at 14.5 degrees Celsius yesterday and the minimum hovered around 0.1 degree Celsius. Mercury level also remained low in Bhairahawa today where maximum temperature stood at 15.5 degrees Celsius and minimum at 13.9 degrees Celsius.

The sudden change in weather has affected daily lives across the country with many staying indoors, but no untoward incident has been reported so far.

The foggy weather and drizzle also affected movement of international and domestic flights in the capital today, as visibility remained low.

At least five international flights of Sichuan Airlines, Nepal Airlines, Thai Airways, Salam Air and Air China headed to Kathmandu were diverted to Lhasa, New Delhi, Kolkata, Patna and Chengdu, respectively. Sichuan Airlines, Air China and Qatar Airways also cancelled their flights from Kathmandu. A few afternoon domestic flights were also cancelled, but their number could not be confirmed.

The flights could not operate as visibility fell to 800 m in the morning. but it gradually improved to 6 km in the afternoon, according to Raju Pradhananga, a senior meteorologist. “Visibility falls when moisture in the atmosphere is not absorbed because of the lack of sunlight,” said Pradhananga.  “We expect visibility to remain low tomorrow morning as well but the situation will improve by afternoon.”