LAHORE – Light rain in many cities including provincial capital on Sunday brought down the mercury as a cold wave gripped whole of Pakistan.
Cold weather prevailed over most parts of the country including North Balochistan, Northern Areas, Kashmir, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Lahore.
In Lahore, rain disturbed routine life by causing inundation on portions of roads, roadsides, traffic jams and frequent power shutdowns. Excessive usage of heaters has also intensified in the harsh weather.
Scattered showers increased chill in weather by causing a considerable decrease in temperature in Lahore.
Rain (mm) recorded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Parachinar 06, Peshawar 04, Dir 02 and Mirkhani 01. Khyber District received its first snowfall of the winter season that has turned the weather cold dropping the temperature to minus 8 degrees Celsius, the TV channel reported.
Pakistan Met Department predicted that on Monday (today) cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country. However, rain/snowfall is expected in upper Punjab, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir and its adjoining hilly areas. Dense fog is likely to prevails in central/southern of Punjab and upper Sindh. A Westerly wave is present over upper parts of the country and may persist in upper parts till Monday.
Sunday’s Lowest Minimum Temperature’s (°C): Leh -14°C, Gupis -08°C, Skardu, Kalat -07°C, Srinagar, Pulwama, Parachinar -06°C, Anantnag, Astore, Quetta -05°C, Kalam and Gilgit -04°C.
Meanwhile, thick fog continued to disrupt normal life in most areas of Punjab. The dense foggy clouds also caused suspension of all means of travelling and a number of accidents across the province.
At least two people lost their lives while four others sustained severe wounds in fog-related accidents. The visibility has dropped to almost zero on main roads across Punjab and the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway has been closed for all traffic, while the flight operation at the Allama Iqbal International Airport has also got affected due to the severe weather condition.
The dense fog blanketed entire plain areas of Punjab with almost zero visibility and major sections of Motorway have been closed for all kinds of traffic.
According to a Motorway Police spokesman, M-3 from Lahore to Abdul Hakeem and M-4 from Pindi Bhattian to Sham Kot have been closed. Similarly, M-5 from Multan to Sukkur has also been closed. The spokesman has advised the commuters to seek information from Helpline 130 prior to travelling on these sections of the motorway.
The Motorway Police have advised the drivers to switch on fog lights while driving at very slow speed as the visibility was dropped to zero due to dense fog. The Motorway Police have also requested the people to stay home and avoid unnecessary travelling.
The meteorological department has forecast rain in Lahore, Islamabad and Upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir in the next 24 hours. According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the national and international flights to and from Lahore Airport were cancelled due to fog and the operation would be resumed after improvement in the weather conditions. The airport manager at the Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore said that the fog has disrupted the flight schedule and the weather could continue to disrupt the operations until Monday morning. “The airlines are managing their flight schedule keeping in view the weather conditions,” he said adding that various flights were diverted from the airport to other destinations in the country. According to details, many international flights were diverted from Lahore airport in the day including flights of Turkish Airlines, British Airways, and Emirates.
The Turkish Airlines’ plane was not allowed to land at the Lahore airport as it remained mid-air for a brief period and was later diverted to Karachi.
The British Airways flight from London was diverted to Islamabad while an Emirates flight was moved to Sialkot. International flights from Lahore to Doha, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi are also facing hours-long delays.