Some call it climate change, some a doomsday effect, and a few say its just a change in the weather, but many residents, including those moving south for holidays, agree that Phuentsholing, for more than a week, has been unusually cold.
The town, which is otherwise known for its balmy winters, started seeing a drop in temperature after December 20 last month, residents said.
A 45-year-old resident, Lobzang Dorji, said he realised he didn’t have a jacket to wear to go out on January 8, when he felt ‘extremely cold.’
“I’ve been living here for decades, and I never had to use a jacket in any season,” he said. “We never remember getting winter clothes, because Phuentsholing is usually hot.”
A garment shop owner said he had customers looking for thick jackets, while a corporate employee Rinzin Choden wore a blazer and boots to work for the first time. “I don’t know if I’m the only one, but this winter has been very different,” she said. “Sometimes, the water is so cold and the breeze chilling.”
Phuentsholing has been seeing cold hazy weather everyday. “I think this time climate is really changing and it’s all about cold waves,” Tshering Pemo, 18, said.
Visitors also said that while it was not as cold as Thimphu, they were taken aback when they experienced a cold winter in Phuentsholing. “I had to ask the hotel to give me an extra blanket around 1am,” Pema Tenzin, 30, said.
Many residents feel that this could be their coldest winter in decades. Some said they have started using room heaters at night to stay warm. “I never leave my socks and cardigan,” Chimmi Wangmo, 16, said. “I’m making the best use of my UGG boots.”
Vijay, who has been working as a day worker in Phuentsholing for more than a decade, said this winter has been very harsh for them. “Maybe this weather is for a while, but it’s surprising to find Phuentsholing extremely cold,” he said.
By Yangchen C Rinzin, Phuentsholing