LAHORE - Parts of the country including Lahore received first significant winter rain and snowfall over the hills on Monday with experts predicting the wet spell to continue during the next couple of days.

Rainfall of varying intensities, snowfall over the hills and continuously blowing winds caused decrease in temperature, increasing bite in weather during the day and at night.

The wet spell disturbed routine life by causing inundation in urban areas, frequent power outages and massive traffic jams.

Quetta, Skardu and Kalat remained the coldest places in the country where mercury dropped 07 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Minimum temperature in Dalbandin was recorded -04C and Parachinar -03C.

In Lahore, rains started last night that continued intermittently till filing of this report. Overcast conditions, continuously blowing winds and downpour in the evening increased chill in weather by decreasing temperature during the day and at nighttime. Maximum and minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 16C and 08C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 89 per cent.

People preferred to stay indoors to avoid exposure to harsh weather conditions. Excessive usage of heaters at offices and homes led to low gas pressure. In certain areas, women faced huge difficulties in cooking meals for their families. Wet conditions and winds also caused tripping of more than 125 LESCO feeders. About two dozen LESCO feeders could not be restored even till filing of this report late night.

The rains added to the woes of motorists and pedestrians by causing inundation on portions of roads and roadsides. Massive traffic jams were witnessed on major arteries due to inundation of rainwater and slippery conditions. The situation was worst along route of under construction Orange Line Metro Train. Several incidents of skidding of motorcycles were also reported from various parts of Lahore.

According to the experts, westerly wave is affecting upper and center parts of the country and likely to persist for 48 hours.

Climate indicators such as El Nino Southern Oscillations (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are expected to remain neutral in December 2017 and these conditions are likely to prevail through winter season 2018.

Slightly above normal rainfall is expected in the upper parts and normal rest of the country during December 2017. Two to three spells of rainfall are expected in parts of the country with snowfall over the mountainous areas. Shallow Foggy conditions may prevail in the plains of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and upper Sindh during the month.

Due to gradual fall in temperature, snow and glacier melt contribution to Indus will be minimal during the month. However, water availability will improve gradually due to 2–3 moderate rainfall spells in catchment areas.

The local meteorological department has forecast rain-thunderstorm with snowfall over the hills at scattered places in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sargodha and Faisalabad divisions, Islamabad, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and at isolated places in upper KPK, upper FATA and Multan divisions during the next couple of days.