As meteorologists predicted a few more days before the next spell of rains in the twin cities, consistently high levels of humidity continued to make life miserable for residents on Saturday.
While temperatures averaged in the mid-30 degrees Celsius, the humid weather in both Rawalpindi and Islamabad troubled commuters and daily wage labourers, especially those observing fasts.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the twin cities have seen their relative humidity stuck in the early 70 degrees Celsius since the last spell of monsoon rains, which ended on Tuesday.
Relative humidity measures the saturation of water vapour in the air, according to PMD experts, so a higher relative humidity correlates with higher chances of rain. But high humidity also affects the human body’s natural cooling mechanism by preventing sweat from evaporating from the body.
Some, like daily wager Muhammad Akram, rely on faith to beat the heat.
“Fasting is our religious duty,” said Akram, who looks for work near the Khanna Pul area. “Perhaps Allah is testing us with this hot weather.”
While Akram put up a brave face, the mugginess and suffocation did not seem to impress others.
At the Aabpara Bus Station, Faisal Rahim, who had commuted to Islamabad from Rawalpindi, said one could at least drink water to quench thirst when not observing a fast. “We are praying for the weather to ease, or at least for some cool breeze,” said Rahim.
PMD’s Forecasting Cell Duty Officer Amjad Mehmood predicted more hot and humid weather for the twin cities over the next couple of days.
Mehmood said the next spell of monsoon rains was expected to start brewing late Monday or early Tuesday.
That spell of rain will come into full force by next weekend and the twin cities can expect showers on Friday and Saturday, he said.
Shifa International Hospital Emergency Services Director Dr Abdul Salam Khan said people observing Ramazan should focus on hydrating their bodies properly during sehri and iftar.
“In Ramazan, people are getting less time to hydrate,” he said. “They should have a minimum of four glasses of water during Sehri and another four after Iftar.”
He said salty food should be avoided because it increased thirst and accelerated water loss from the body.
Khan also recommended avoiding exposure to direct sunlight. He advised against alternating frequently between air conditioned spaces and outdoors, which upsets the human body’s adaptability to temperature.
The average temperature recorded in Rawalpindi stood at 35 degrees Celsius while it was 36 degrees Celsius in Islamabad. Some areas of Rawalpindi also saw cloud cover during the day, according to the PMD.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2013.