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Heavy snowfall will lessen chances of GLOFs, says expert

Chargheri in Bang by Rehmat Wali Khan[/caption] “I have never seen such a heavy snowfall in our area in my whole life. Our elders used to tell us that in their childhood sometimes there was such a heavy snowfall that in the morning they could not step out of their house as there would be a waste-deep snow outside,” said Izat Wali of Yarkhun valley. Reports said different areas of Chitral received two inch to over four feet of snow by Friday evening. In the far-off areas such as Yarkhun Lasht and Broghil, the dwellers were unable even move out of their homes amid over three feet of snow. The traffic on the busy Chitral-Mastuj road remained thin on Friday but there was no report about its blockade at any point. Accessibility to the Torkhow, Yarkhun and Laspur valleys, however, remained restricted as people avoided travelling. [caption id="attachment_41619" align="alignright" width="315"]In Bakrabad, by Zafar Uddin In Bakrabad, by Zafar Uddin[/caption] The Met Office in Islamabad has already warned of an active weather system till Feb 5 (Sunday), adding the rain/snowfall may create glacial outburst floods (GLOFs) in Golen and Bindugol. The Met Office recorded 18mm rain in Chitral town, 10mm in Drosh and 11mm in Mirkhani with the Chitral town and nearby areas receiving two inch of snowfall as well. It said rain-thunderstorm (with snowfall over the hills) is expected at a number of places in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan during the next 48 hours. The district government on Friday directed the C&W department and the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) Mastuj to remain on high alert to meet any emergency situation in the wake of the heavy snowfall and use all available resources to keep the roads open. Meanwhile, a weather expert in Islamabad told ChitralToday that the pattern of rain/snowfall in the mountainous areas would be helpful in reducing the chances of glacial outburst floods (GLOFs). The valley of Chitral was devastated in frequent GLOFs for the last two to three years. The expert said all these floods were caused by global warming and the subsequent lack of snowfall. He said when there was no snowfall on glaciers, the bodies of the huge ice/snow got thin with the passage of time, allowing heat to penetrate into the bottom of the glaciers. As a result, the glaciers start melting and the water accumulates at their bottom. After a certain period of time, if there is no more rains and the weather continues warming up, the accumulated water bursts out and flows down as a GLOF. He said after the latest snowfall and the prolonged wet spell, the glaciers would get stabilized and this would minimize the chances of more GLOFs in the summer. Besides, areas which have no glaciers would have abundant of water in the summer, he added. [caption id="attachment_41618" align="alignright" width="940"] Bang after snowfall, by Abdul Nasir Khan[/caption] Abdul Nasir Khan and Rehmat Wali Khan of Bang in the Yarkhun valley told ChitralToday on phone that there was no electricity and water as the streams from where water and electricity were supplied to different areas had frozen. People in all the villages are also facing the same issues. There is no water for cattle and even people living along the riverside are facing hardship in fetching water as the river is also almost frozen.]]>

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