DIR UPPER/LAHORE -  Parts of the country received rainfall of varying intensities with snowfall over the hills yesterday ending the months-long dry spell and bringing chill in weather by causing considerable decrease in temperature during the day and at nighttime.

Experts have forecast the wet spell to continue intermittently till coming Saturday.

The rains, though light in plains, provided much needed relief to the masses by decreasing the level of pollutants accumulated in the atmosphere due to persistent dryness.

Parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa received light rain and snowfall on Tuesday as country’s upper areas braced for a cold wave.

Light showers ended nearly four months-long dry spell in upper parts of KP, while areas in Hazara Division also witnessed first snowfall of the season.

According to met office Peshawar, light rain was reported in several parts of KP including Peshawar, Malakand and Hazara divisions, where the temperature went further down. The met office recorded rain in Dir, Chitral, Swat, Kohistan, Mansehra, Abbottabad and Peshawar districts.

Meteorological Department has forecast intermittent rain with snowfall over the hills at scattered places of upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Malakand, Hazara, Peshawar, Mardan divisions), Fata, Rawalpindi Gujranwala, Sargodha, Lahore divisions, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir till coming Saturday. The rain is also expected at isolated places in Kohat, Bannu, DI Khan, Zhob and Quetta divisions. Dense foggy conditions are likely to continue over plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh during night and morning hours.

An official of the met office said snowfall over the hills in Chitral, Malam Jabba, Kalam, Nathia Gali and Abbottabad was expected during the next 24 hours, the official said.

Rain is also predicted in isolated places in southern parts of the province including Kohat, Bannu and DI Khan. The cold wave would likely move towards Karachi in next few days consequently decreasing temperature in the port city, the official predicted.

The official predicted an extended winter season till March as more rains are expected during next three months.

Snowfall and rain continued all the day in Nathiagali, Ayubia, Thandiyani and other hilly areas of district Abbottabad, bringing down the temperature to freezing point.

Kaghan, Naran, Shogran, Murree and other areas also witnessed first snowfall of the season. People remained indoors as temperature touched low level. Persistent rains in Kaghan, Naran and snowfall from time to time caused land sliding and blockage of roads in many areas.

A large number of tourists reached Galyat to enjoy the snowfall

Plain areas and mountains peaks in Kumrat, Lowari Top and parts of Barawal valley received rain and snowfall. The rain and snowfall started late on Monday night. Though Upper Dir received rain a few weeks ago but it was not enough to break the long dry-spell.

Lowari Top, the only land route that connects Chitral with rest of the country, was closed to traffic due to snowfall, causing hardships to passengers and stranding them on both sides of the road.

The Additional Assistant Commissioner (AAC) Dir, Faheedullah told the scribe that they had set up a facilitation center for passengers at Panakot in Dir.

Lahore also experienced light rain on Tuesday.

Skardu remained the coldest place in the country where mercury dropped 10 degree Celsius below the freezing point. Minimum temperature in Gupis was recorded -05C, Parachinar -04C, Gilgit -03C, Chitral, Malamjabba, Hunza, Kalat and Astore -02C, Bagrote and Kalam -01C.

Maximum and minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 21C and 09C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 67 per cent.

After light rain earlier on Tuesday, the Meteorological Department (PMD) was expecting a proper rain spell in Lahore in the coming days would lift fog, at least in the city.

However, they also feared that the fog would continue to persist in the plains of the province and Sindh during dusk and dawn.

Lahore was chilly and soaked in rain on Tuesday and so does other regions of Punjab and the upper parts of the country.

People in Islamabad, Punjab, Malakand, Peshawar and Swat welcomed light rain during wee hours. Similarly, Chiniot, Chakwal and Pindi Bhattian received winter rain today after a dry spell.

Kohat, Bannu, Dera Ismail (DI) Khan, Zhob and Quetta were expected to receive light rain soon in some areas and snow at hilly regions, said the Met Office.

Snow continued falling over Nanga Parbat, Babusar Top, Batoga Top and on the mountains of Neelam Valley in Muzaffarabad.

Cloudiness, rains and snowfall over the hills increased bite in weather by lowering the mercury level. Excessive usage of heaters at offices and home caused considerable decrease in gas pressure in major cities including Lahore. In certain areas, women faced hardships in cooking meals for families.

The first wet spell of winter also provided respite to the people from weather related diseases.

Skin dryness and allergy, itching, common cold, pain in joints, respiratory tract infection, cough and flu, wheezy chest, high grade fever and stomach upset to the extent of watery stools were on the rise due to dry cold.

Malik Riaz Khan, a consultant children specialist, told that dozens of cases of ARIs, pneumonia and other seasonal infections in children were reported last month due to prolonged dry and chilly weather, hoping that the current rainfall would help control these seasonal diseases in the province.

Agriculture experts termed the current rainfall extremely beneficial for the wheat crop especially in arid and dry areas, besides increasing per acre production. They said young saplings of trees would also help grow due to rainfall.