Fox News Weather Center

Nepal Earthquake Kills Hundreds; Adverse Weather Follows

The weather threatens to interfere with search, rescue and cleanup operations in the wake of the major 7.8-magnitude earthquake that has killed hundreds with the death toll mounting.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck at 11:56 a.m. local time Saturday (2:11 a.m. EDT Saturday), according to the United States Geological Survey. The epicenter occurred 81 km (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu, Nepal.

Widespread destruction in and around the epicenter resulted and the death toll continues to mount, according to Staff Writer Mark Leberfinger. Hundreds have already been reported dead.

The earthquake, which may be the second strongest on record in Nepal, caused major damage in Kathmandu. Avalanches were triggered on nearby Mount Everest.

In addition to aftershocks that threaten to cause more damage, residents and crews searching for survivors and beginning to cleanup the destruction will now have to contend with adverse weather.

Showers and thunderstorms will rumble on a daily basis through at least early in the new week. The activity will be most numerous during the afternoon and evening hours, stated Meteorologist Adam Douty.

Those without shelter or crews working outside will be at risk of being struck by lightning during any thunderstorm.

As was the case Saturday night, the weather could disrupt helicopters and planes trying to fly into the area and provide aid.

While the shower and thunderstorm activity will be less during the morning hours, other complications to air travel may arise as valley fog forms.

Temperatures during the daylight hours in the valleys will rise into 20s C (70s F), but the nights will be on the cool side with temperatures dropping into the lower teens C (middle 50s) in Kathmandu and other valleys.

"The higher [in elevation] you go, the greater the threat for nighttime exposure," warned Meteorologist Jim Andrews.

The air will be cold enough in highest elevations for snow to fall. Andrews expects any snow to be above permanent settlements. More the rescue crews working to reach anyone in danger on Mt. Everest will be impacted.

No change to the weather pattern is expected for the second half of the new week.