LAHORE - Parts of the country including Lahore remained in the grip of severe cold wave on Friday with experts predicting the prevailing harsh weather conditions to persist during the next couple of days.

Rains in parts of the country, snowfall over the hills and winds helped maintaining the mercury to a low level, making weather chilly during the day and at nighttime.

Kalam and Skardu remained coldest places in the country where mercury dropped 09 degree Celsius below freezing point. Minimum temperature in Astore was recorded -08C, Gupis -07C, Hunza and Bagrote -06C, Gilgit, Rawalakot, Malamjabba and Dir -03C, Parachinar -02C, Chitral, Drosh, Kakul, Muzaffarabad and Bunji -01C. Minimum temperature in Lahore was recorded 02C.

Excessive usage of heaters at offices and home led to low gas pressure in major cities including Lahore. In certain areas, women faced huge difficulties in cooking meals for their families.

According to the experts, westerly wave is passing over upper parts of the country and may persist till Sunday morning.

Local meteorological department has forecast rain-thunderstorm with snow over the hills at scattered places in Malakand, Hazara, Rawalpindi, Lahore divisions, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir and at isolated places in Peshawar, Kohat, Mardan, Bannu, Sargodha, Sahiwal and Gujranwala divisions. Cold and dry weather is expected elsewhere in the country. Foggy conditions are expected in South Punjab and upper Sindh during morning/night hours. Snowfall is also expected in Murree, Galiyat, Malakand division, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir during the period.