Thinley Namgay

Snowfall since the evening of February 25 blocked several highways, stranding commuters. Except for Dochula, high passes remained closed to traffic as of yesterday evening.

Travellers have been stopped from plying via Pelela between Wangduephodrang and Trongsa, Thrumshingla between Mongar and Bumthang, Chelela between Paro and Haa and Tergola between Haa and Sangbaykha.

According to Department of Roads (DoR) officials, the thickness of snow along the road between Sengor and Thrumshingla was 16.5 inches and it might take two to three days to clear the road for traffic.

The roadblock at Yotongla between Trongsa and Bumthang was cleared yesterday afternoon and vehicles were allowed to ply. While travellers were also allowed to ply via Dochula, commuters were cautioned, as the road remained slippery.

Superintendent of Police (SP) for traffic division, Lt. Colonel Namgay said that one of the major roadblocks was in Tergola pass between Haa and Sangbaykha. “Clearing works are underway.”

He said DoR officials used de-icing  salts to melt the snow.

SP Namgay said that there was no report of major vehicle accidents owing to the snowfall.

Meanwhile, the National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) stated that cloudy weather with light to moderate snowfall is expected over Haa, Gasa, Bumthang, Trongsa, Paro, Thimphu, and high passes until yesterday. NCHM also mentioned that other places can expect light rain. “Weather is expected to improve from today.”

This year’s first snowfall was reported on January 3 in the high passes like Thrumshingla, Pelela and Dochula. Places located in higher altitude in Thimphu also received snow, but the capital city is yet to receive its first snowfall.