LAHORE                -           Blanketed by fog, plains of the country including Lahore remained in the grip of severe cold wave on Friday with experts predicting the prevailing harsh weather conditions to persist during the current week.

Dense fog and biting cold disturbed routine life by affecting all modes of transportation-road, rail and air.

The fog started falling in the evening and become so dense at mid night that visibility reduced to zero in open areas. Dense to moderate fog hampered vehicular movement on important intercity roads including Motorway and National Highway. Less visibility forced closure of portions of Motorway at around midnight, leaving motorists with no option except to use alternative routes including National Highway. The situation was the same at almost the entire National Highway. Less visibility caused the vehicles to move at a snail’s pace. The police have advised the people to avoid unnecessary travelling from mid night to early morning. If unavoidable, use fog lights, ensure functioning of wipers and drive at slow speed.

Low visibility affected flight operation at Allama Iqbal International Airport besides disturbing schedule of Pakistan Railways. Almost all trains reached their respective destinations hours beyond the scheduled time.

Astore remained the coldest place in the country where mercury dropped 15 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Minimum temperature in Gupis was recorded -13C, Bagrote -12C, Parachinar -09C, Quetta -08C, Kalat and Gilgit 06C, Chitral, Malamjabba and Dir -05C, Dalbandin -04C, Mirkhani and Drosh -03C. Minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 03C.

Severe cold caused the people to avoid coming out unnecessarily, decreasing traffic on otherwise busy roads in the morning. Excessive use of heaters at offices and homes led to low gas pressure in major cities including Lahore. In certain areas women faced difficulties in cooking meals for families.

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

Meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather for most parts of the country including Lahore during the current week. Fog is likely to prevail in plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh during morning/night hours.

The local Meteorological office on Friday forecast cold and dry weather with dense fog in the night hours in the provincial capital during next 24 hours.

However, rain was expected at isolated places in Sialkot, Narowal, Gujranwala, Jhelum and Rawalpindi districts during evening/night. However, fog is likely to prevail in Faisalabad, Jhang, Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Okara, and Sahiwal during night hours.

Met Office on Saturday said rain was expected at isolated places in Sialkot, Narowal, Gujranwala, Jhelum and Rawalpindi districts during evening/night. However, fog is likely to prevail in Faisalabad, Jhang, Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yarkhan, Okara, Sahiwal during night hours.

Meteorological Office recorded maximum temperature as 16 degree Celsius and minimum as 3 degree Celsius with 100 percent humidity in the air during the last 24 hours.