LAHORE - Plains of the country including the city remained in the grip of severe cold wave on Thursday with experts predicting the prevailing harsh weather conditions to persist during the ongoing week.

Besides biting cold, dense fog continued to disturb routine life hampering vehicular movement on major inter and intra city routes including Motorway and National Highway from mid night to morning hours.

Hours’ long sunshine at noon and in the afternoon provided much needed respite to the people in plains including Lahore by increasing daytime temperature.

Fog started falling in the evening after brief period of sunshine and become so dense at midnight that the visibility reduced to zero in open areas. Reduced visibility caused delay in arrival and departure and even cancellation of international and domestic flights. Dense fog also disturbed rail traffic and almost all trains reached to their respective destinations hours behind the scheduled time.

Large scale gas loadshedding added to the woes of cold stricken people. In almost all Lahore, women faced huge difficulties in cooking meals for their families.

According to the experts, continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country. A shallow westerly trough is passing over Gilgit-Baltistan.  On Thursday, Skardu and Astore remained the coldest places in the country where mercury dropped 07 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Maximum and minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 14 C and 04 C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 82 per cent.

Local meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather for most parts of the country during the current week. Light rain (light snowfall over the hills) is expected at a few places in Malakand division, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. Dense foggy conditions will prevail in Gujranwala, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur and Sahiwal divisions and foggy in Sargodha, Rawalpindi, D G Khan, Peshawar, D I Khan and Sukkur divisions during night and morning hours.

Dense foggy conditions are expected on M2 (Lahore to Pindi Bhattian sector) and foggy on M1 (Peshawar to Burhan sector) during night and morning hours.