LAHORE - Dense fog/smog continued enveloping plains including Lahore on Tuesday with experts predicting the prevailing harsh weather conditions to persist at least for a week.

Below average rainfall and calm winds are expected during the ongoing month, meaning that no respite for the citizens from smog/fog related hazards.

One or two spells of light to moderate rainfall are expected in the northern half of the country.

Fog/smog is likely to prevail in the plains of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and upper Sindh with variable intensities. Mean daily temperatures are likely to remain normal during the month. However, day temperatures will be below average and nights will be slightly warmer due to foggy conditions.

Less than normal precipitation may further deplete surface and ground water resources. Gradual decrease in temperature will also minimize snow and glacier melt contribution to Indus. Water management authorities have been advised to ensure judicious use of water stocks to meet the requirements of the Rabi sowing. 

Fog started falling in the afternoon before lifting of the existing mass and became so dense at midnight that visibility reduced to zero in open areas. Parts of the plains hardly saw any sunshine. The City witnessed mild sunshine for brief period of less than two hours at noon.

Dense fog caused closure of Motorway from Pindi Bhattian to Lahore and from Pindi Bhattian to Faisalabad. Closure of Motorway caused difficulties for motorists who left with no other option except to use alternative routes including National Highway. Low visibility also hampered vehicular movement on National Highway from Kharian to Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab and from Rahim Yar Khan to Sukkur in Sindh.

Dense fog affected flight operation at Allama Iqbal International Airport besides disturbing schedule of trains. Almost all trains reached their respective destinations hours behind the scheduled time.

Excessive use of gas at offices and homes widened gap between demand and supply. In certain areas, women faced difficulties in cooking meals for families due to low gas pressure.

Skardu remained the coldest place in the country where mercury dropped to 04 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Maximum and minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 24C and 14C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 75 per cent.

According to the experts, continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country.

Local meteorological department has forecast mainly dry weather for most parts of the province including Lahore during the next 2-3 days. Dense foggy conditions are expected over plains of Punjab including Lahore at nighttime and in the morning.

Meanwhile, speaking at a seminar at Lahore General Hospital, Principal Post Graduate Medical Institute Prof Ghias-un-Nabi Tayyab stressed the need of sincere efforts at all levels to check ever increasing pollution. He called upon preservation of greenery and planting more trees for healthy environment. He said that smog was more dangerous for heart and lungs patients.

Addressing awareness seminar at Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS)/Services Hospital, experts advised the citizens to wear masks and glasses while going outdoors to protect themselves from the adverse effects of smog. They advised the people to wash face, eyes and hands on returning indoors. Principal SIMS Prof Mahmood Ayaz, Prof Sajid Chauhan, Prof Ashraf Majrooh, Prof Kamran Cheema and MS Dr Muhammad Ameer addressed the seminar and sensitized the participants regarding preventive measures against smog.

Later, an awareness walk was also organized. Medical students, doctors and paramedical staff participated in the walk.

Seminar and walk was also arranged at Lady Aitcheson Hospital. MS Dr Fozia Syed, Dr Mehvish Rehman, Dr Asma Shahnawaz and other doctors delivered lectures about preventive measures. Masks and pamphlets were also distributed among the attendants of the patients.