More rain and snow forecast for Nepal
Unseasonal late monsoon rains across Nepal are causing floods, damaging paddy fields ready for harvest, and early snowfall in the Himalaya has stranded trekkers and festival travellers.
Relentless rain battered Kathmandu and other areas in the middle of the Dasain festival season, when many people are on the road or at airports travelling to their home districts.
A highway accident in Bara on Thursday morning which appears to have been caused by the bus brakes failing due to aquaplaning in heavy rain killed 18 people. Landslides and muddy roads cut off other areas of the country. There have been no flights to and from Pokhara since Tuesday.
The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology Early Warning Centre forecasts more rain for at least two more days, mainly concentrated in western and central Nepal. The monsoon front that brought this precipitation is being pushed back by a westerly, bringing more snow to the central Himalayan areas.
Kathmandu got 70mm of rain on Thursday, with the heaviest in Rupendehi and Chitwan which recorded 200mm in 24 hours, and 80mm in Dang. Kathmandu is expected to get more rain by mid-day Friday and into the evening.
The Babai and West Rapti Rivers were flowing above the danger mark on Thursday evening, while the Narayani in Devghat was rising up to its 9m danger threshold. The Department has warned people living close to the Narayani in Nawalparasi and Chitwan to take extreme care.
Meanwhile, the monsoon depression dumped more than 2m of snow in the Himalaya, forcing mountaineers on Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Mt Everest to cancel their expeditions. Two Nepalis were killed in avalanches on Manaslu, while an American extreme skier was killed after she fell to her death from near the summit of the world’s eighth highest mountain.
Humla, which had got the first unseasonal snowfall of the season at the end of September, got more of it on Thursday. In Manang, the blizzards this week blanketed Ngisyang and Narpha, trapping yak herders and trekkers.
"There was only snow from Wednesday night, now it is sleet and snow in Humde,” said Kancha Ghale, Chairman of Manang Ngisyang Rural Municipality.
The head of Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Area Office in Manang, Lekhnath Gautam, said 60 trekkers headed up to Thorung La (5,416 m) and Tilicho Lake (4,919 m) were stuck in the town waiting for the snowfall to stop.
Another 150 trekkers are at Yak Kharka, Ledar, Thorung Phedi and High Camp on the way to the Thorung pass. There are also trekkers in Khangsar and Srikharka on the trail to Tilicho.
Manang’s Chief District Officer Rabindra Prasad Acharya said that trekkers have been asked to stay where they are as there are risks of landslides and avalanches due to heavy rain and snowfall higher up the mountains.
Floods have also damaged the Besisahar-Chame road, which was rough even at the best of times. Landslides at Khotro, Dharapani, and Timang had blocked traffic since Wednesday.