ISLAMABAD: Intermittent showers coupled with hailstorm brought joy for the residents of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
Heavy rain started in the evening followed by a hailstorm which turned the weather pleasant for the residents of the twin cities who had been confined to their homes mainly due to the 13th ECO summit in Islamabad.
Since Wednesday morning, roads of the twin cities wore a deserted look as the city administration had announced a local holiday on March 1 while movement on roads was also restricted.
However, after the rain and hailstorm, people thronged public spots and roadside eateries. The rain also brought some relief over the rising concentration of pollen in the air.
“This was the first rain of the spring season,” said Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Director General Dr Ghulam Rasul while talking to The Express Tribune.
Asked about the hailstorm in the evening, which normally occurs in winter, Dr Rasul said it was a common feature during spring rain.
Hail is mostly associated with cumulonimbus clouds which also produce lightening, he said, adding that clouds are considered as dangerous for aircraft.
Meanwhile, according to a PIA spokesperson, the departure of PK-370 from Karachi to Islamabad had to be delayed for half an hour due to the hailstorm.
Meanwhile, residents of the twin cities should expect a partly cloudy sky followed by light rain today (Thursday), Dr Rasul said.
Following that, residents should expect clear skies with both the temperature pollen count in the city set to rise gradually, he said.
Above average rain
Meanwhile, the PMD released a new weather outlook for March according to which global climate indicators such as the North Atlantic Oscillations (NAO), El Nino and Southern Oscillations (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), are expected to remain neutral this month.
Based on the prevailing atmospheric conditions, climate outlook of different models suggest that around three to four weather systems are likely to pass over country. This was expected to result in slightly above normal rainfall in upper Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and northern parts of Punjab. The rest of the country though should expect normal rainfall.
Snowfall is also expected over high mountains in March.
Thunder and hailstorms accompanied by gusty winds are also likely to occur at isolated places in the country.
The temperature is expected to remain slightly above normal in March.
Initial estimates suggest that precipitation is likely to remain normal in the April.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2017.