LAHORE - Plains of the country including Lahore remained in the grip of severe cold wave on Tuesday with experts predicting the harsh weather conditions to persist during the next couple of days.

In addition to the biting cold, dense fog added to the woes of cold stricken people by disrupting rail and air traffic and hampering vehicular movement on major inter and intra city roads including Motorway and National Highway.

Fog started falling in the evening and become so dense at midnight that the visibility reduced to zero in open areas. Dense fog and the resultant low visibility caused suspension of flight operation at Lahore, Sialkot, Multan and Faisalabad Airports. Reduced visibility disrupted rail traffic as almost all trains reached to their respective destinations hours behind the scheduled time.

Less visibility hampered vehicular movement on major intercity roads from the evening to 12 at noon. Motorway Police continued to take vehicles in convoys to ease load on National Highway.

Continuously blowing winds, dense fog and the resultant lesser period of sunshine helped maintaining the mercury to a low level during the day and at nighttime.

Skardu remained the coldest place in the country where mercury dropped 12 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Minimum temperature in Astore was recorded -08 C, Gupis, Gilgit and Hunza -07 C, Parachinar -06 C, Kalat, Kalam and Dalbandin -04 C, Quetta, Dir and Zhob -03 C, Bannu, Rawalakot and Drosh -02 C, Chitral, Lower Dir, Bunji, Saidu Sharif, Murree, Malamjabba, Mirkhani, D I Khan and Risalpur -01 C. Maximum and minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 15 C and 02 C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 72 per cent.

According to the officials, continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country. A shallow westerly trough is affecting upper parts of the country and likely to persist during next 48 hours.

The local meteorological department has forecast cold and dry weather for most parts of the country including Lahore during the next couple of days. However, light rain with light snowfall is expected over the hills of Gilgit-Baltistan and Malakand division. Dense foggy conditions are likely to continue in Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sahiwal, Multan, Bahawalpur and D G Khan divisions and shallow fog in Sukkur, D I Khan divisions. 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.