January 18, 2021 | tourism

Erbil province highlanders seeing least snowfall in living memory


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Less than a week remains of Bafranbar, the Kurdish name for the month of the year that sees the most snowfall.

So far, only 40 centimeters of snow have fallen on the mountains of Haji Omaran subdistrict, Erbil province – almost four times less than this time last year, locals say.

Salim Ahmed is a 63-year-old resident of the area. He says this is the least snow he’s ever seen during Bafranbar.

I don’t think there has ever been so little snow. I also haven’t heard from my forefathers. This snow fell in November. In previous years, there were two, three meters of snow in January.

The Kurdistan Region’s rivers need mountain snowfall to replenish their volume.

“The springs are drying out. There isn’t much water in the river, as you’ve seen,” said Sleman Baby, a mukhtar in the Haji Omaran village of Shiwarash.

However, winter has not ended, and it has happened that snow has fallen in the spring season.”

In Pirzha, in Erbil’s Choman district piles of snow 10 meters deep sit in the valley most years. The snow usually remains in the valleys all year round.

“There used to be more than ten avalanches of snow in Pirzha every year, and all the snow used to pile up in the valley. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen even one this year,” said Abdullah Hamad, mukhtar of Choman’s Weza village.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen even one this year.

“I haven’t seen such a situation in my life, to see so little snow that you can easily drive to Pirzha [town] in the middle of January.”

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