Peshawar experiences subzero temperatures after 30 years

Current weather pattern expected to hold until new year when rains are expected


Shahabullah Yousafzai December 31, 2018

PESHAWAR: The ongoing cold and dry spell saw temperatures in Peshawar plummet to below zero for the first time in three decades.

Temperatures in the provincial capital fell to -1 on Sunday.

Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD)- Peshawar Director Mushtaq Shah told The Express Tribune that the country is currently in a severe grip of cold weather since the middle of December.

He added that the current weather pattern is expected to hold for a few more days.

He added that the cold grip was due to the changes in the sea surface temperature which was affecting regional countries such as India to the east, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to the west all the way up to Greece.

“For provincial capital of Peshawar, such temperature is a rare phenomenon,” Shah said, adding that the last time the city saw sub-zero temperatures was all the way back in 1984 when the temperatures plummeted to -1.6 degrees Celsius.

He added that while the city has seen temperatures as low as 0.5 and 0.6 degrees Celsius in recent years, this year’s winter is by far the coldest Peshawar has seen for decades. The PMD official said that this was a new weather pattern for the city and that they expect it to continue for at least a few more years.

Apart from Peshawar, he said that hill stations such as Kalam and Malamjabba were also affected by the abnormal cold wave with temperatures there plummeting to -8 and -4 respectively.

“For Peshawar, it is an abnormal temperature in past 30 years,” he said, adding, “We do not have a precedent for constant minus temperatures in the last month of the year.”

“We always witness that during the Christmas days, European countries witness snowfall. But this year, most of the main European countries did not experience heavy snowfall owing to changes in the sea surface temperatures,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2018.

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