When will Thimphu get its first snowfall?

Weather: If the light snowfall in some places like Motithang and Decehncholing experienced on Thursday evening came as a teaser, Thimphu should have its first snowfall very soon, at least by January 20.

This is according to an analysis carried out by the Chief of Snow and Glacier division at the Hydro-met division, Chimi Dorji and his colleague Ugyen Chophel. They used limited data on snowfall in the capital from 1991 to 2014 (24 years) to determine the trend of the first snowfall, which is also a public holiday in the capital.

The scientific paper states that over the last 24 years, Thimphu typically received its first snowfall in the month of January. While 65 percent of the years in the 24-year period recorded the first snowfall in January, the median start date of snowfall in Thimphu was January 20. No particular dates, however, were repeated consistently for the first snowfall.

The authors, however warns that this is not a forecast, but only an analysis based on past trends.

However, there were also years when the snow first fell very early in December (1992 and 2009), late in February (2000 and 2007), or even very late in March (1998). The paper showed that the first snowfall always occurred between December and March. The snow thickness was about 1-2 cm for the first snowfall.

It has been found that there was a very low annual accumulation of snow in 1998,1999,2001,2006 and 2010. However, for four of these five years (1999,2001,2006 and 2010), there were no recorded incidents of first snowfall in Thimphu. The paper assumed that snowfall could have happened at night, which was not reported or that they were not able to trace the records.

By Dechen Tshomo

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