PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE/ KARACHI:
Mercury levels dipped to new lows on Tuesday and coupled with gas and power outages piled misery on people in various cities across the country.
The twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have been in severe grip of cold for the last couple of days with temperatures plummeting to freezing point. Most citizens complained that if the cold wave continued for another two days and the outages not controlled, they would have to switch to burning wood to keep warm.
“I think burning wood is the only option we are left with to keep ourselves warm,” said 40-year-old Imran Abbasi, while talking to The Express Tribune.
The Met office recorded minimum temperature down to -2°C in Islamabad while 0°C in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
On the other hand, shopkeepers in Islamabad claimed an increase in sale of dry fruits and fish due to drop in temperatures.
“We have run short of existing stock of dry fruits, especially the peanuts and almonds and have ordered additional stocks,” said Alam Khan, a dry-fruit seller in Aabpara market.
The Met Office has predicted cloudy weather with isolated light rains in Rawalpindi division and Islamabad for 24 hours.
It also predicted isolated light rains and snowfall over the hills, in Kashmir and adjoining hilly areas on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a number of roads, including Havayli-Rawalpindi, Leepa Valley-Muzaffarabad and Taubutt-Sharda remained closed due to heavy snowfalls and rain in the upper reaches of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. According to Muzaffarabad Met Office, more rain and snowfall is expected in the region in the next two days. Most parts of the Neelum Valley, Leepa Valley and Havayli areas remained below freezing point on Tuesday with Muzaffarabad’s temperature at 0°C.
On the other hand, the temperature in Punjab’s capital remained 1.8°C minimum and 14.7°C maximum. According to Met Office, the weather in Lahore will remain cold and partly cloudy with chances of rain. Met Director Sahabzada Khan said visibility will be enough for motorways and airport to remain operational but added that there will be light fog in the city. He said that the mercury was expected to fall to zero after rain.
Meanwhile, Met officials said freezing temperatures in Karachi broke all records, as northwest winds continued to keep temperatures low. The city witnessed chaos on New Year’s Eve as most roads remained clogged due to heavy traffic.
Many parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and its adjoining areas also witnessed a sharp decrease in temperature, along with a cut in gas and power supply. Upper parts of Hazara and Malakand divisions, Kurram, North Waziristan and parts of Orakzai and Chitral received snow, while the Peshawar Met Office forecast rain and snowfall during the next 24 hours in upper parts of the province.
According to the Met officials, Parachinar was the coldest area in the region where the minimum temperature was -10°C. It was followed by Upper Dir, Kalam and Malam Jabba where -4°C,-5°C and -6°C were recorded.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2014.
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