Snowfall: Yesterday was a beautiful day for people living in the northern and western region of the country. They got the snow they have been waiting for. Bumthang and Haa got the heaviest.
There was excitement in the air. Children got out of bed early to make their own snowman. Picture of hills and valleys blanketed in white flakes flooded the Facebook pages. The Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs declared holiday for residents of Thimphu and other dzongkhags that experienced the snowfall.
Dochula was almost choked with cars. Families went up to witness the first snow of the year.
Sonam Wangmo, 80, was watching her grandchildren playing in the snow in Changidaphu. “It’s the time of the year when family members gather around the bhukari and have warm cup of suja and thukpa. I used to always cherish the special day,” she said. “Only it doesn’t snow much nowadays.”
But it didn’t last long, the snow. By lunchtime, in Thimphu, it has pretty much all gone.
And there will be some change in the weather. A light blanket of rain is expected on the passes and in northern regions of the country. It will not rain in Thimphu and the regions in the south will experience high humidity.
Meteorology division’s Sonam Tashi said that there is a possibility of another snowfall as temperature can drop suddenly.
According to the division, Gasa received 16cm snow yesterday, followed by Bumthang with 4.3cm. Haa and Paro also received a good amount of snow.
In Bumthang, farmers were jubilant. Yesterday’s snowfall, which is the second snowfall in the dzongkhag this year, was one of the heaviest in recent memory. It measures a little more than two inches.
First Snowfall – 2016
“There was a snowfall last year, but it was very light,” said Sangay Dhendup, an elderly from Phomrong. He said that heavy snowfall augurs well for agriculture activities. “It [snow] is considered auspicious. Crops grow healthy and harvest is bountiful.”
Snow is good, particularly for crops like barley, wheat and potato, said Bebzur Tshogpa Tshering Dorji. “Potato cultivation will begin in a month’s time.”
Potato is the chief source of cash income for the farmers of Bumthang.
For Uraps, snowfall means better mushroom yield. Sangay Shamu (trycholma matsutake), Ngangla Shamu (lyophyllum shimeji), and Seu Shamu (exidia) are important source of income for Uraps.
For herders in highlands of Chokhortoe, too, snowfall is special. Good snowfall means good cordyceps yield, their chief source of income.
Village elders believe that snow is a harbinger of a good year. “The timing is perfect. Farmers are getting ready for another work cycle,” said a village elder in Babesa. “It signals a prosperous year.”
The Road Safety and Transport Authority officials said there were no major roadblocks or accidents at the higher passes yesterday. RSTA’s director general Lham Dorji said all roads at the higher passes were clear for traffic by yesterday evening and are safe to travel.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Bhutan was one of the few offices that were open yesterday in Thimphu. To cater to the emergency foreign currency requirements, the bank’s foreign exchange counter at Thimphu main branch remained open until noon.
The bank released USD 75,800 in two hours to 30 clients.
Tempa Wangdi and Thinley Zangmo