ISLAMABAD - The twin cities are under severe grip of cold, freezing and fog-infested weather after a foggy start on Sunday morning.

The temperature in twin cities dropped further on night when the fog once again blanketed the whole city. The leafy capital was covered in a blanket of fog and fog-shrouded scenic surroundings captivated many of the early risers and nature lovers. But the nature’s spell did not last for long, as the golden sun rose up over the fog-covered city it burned-off much of the mist.

The dense fog that had engulfed the whole city early on Saturday evening was a rare phenomenon for the residents. On Saturday night, the visibility on the roads of the capital had dropped to near zero, making it difficult for the motorists to drive in the night.

Though on one part the hikers and morning walkers enjoyed the nature’s beautiful patrons of weather, on the other it badly affected the travel.

The dense fog badly disrupted air operation at Benazir Bhutto International Airport and causing inconvenience to passengers. “Flight operations virtually remained suspended for hours after dense fog descended at the airport on Saturday night,” said an official of BBIA flight enquiry official.

She informed the Saturday fog affected the movements of about 23 domestic and international flights of national flag carrier, PIA. On Saturday 10 international flights were cancelled, while on Sunday the number surged to 12.

While PIA domestic flights bound to Gilgit, Lahore and Karachi were also cancelled on Sunday.

“With runway visibility being far less than the required minimum limit, no flights took off between the Saturday and Sunday night, while the situation is also not good today (Sunday), forcing the PIA and other private airlines to hold back flight departures and arrivals,” the official said adding at one time after 9 pm on Saturday the runway visibility dropped to zero.

Due to worst fog, train operation continued to be disrupted on Sunday and over seven Rawalpindi-bound trains running hours late and one Lahore bound train were cancelled.

Munawar Shah Divisional Superintendent of Railways said that train operation was delayed with many trains owing to weather conditions. He said trains running between Rawalpindi and Lahore witnessed delay up to three hours on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Similarly, he said, delay is also recorded in arrival and departure of trains at Rawalpindi station.

Above all, Pakistan Metrological Department has no good news in terms of severe weather conditions at least for the current week starting from January 7.

DG Met Department Dr Hanif predicted that foggy conditions continue to prevail for the next four days. “Owing to dense fog, the minimum temperature of the twin cities has fallen to freezing level, while the situation will remain same until January 10.”

Stating the reasons for foggy conditions Hanif said it was because of delay in rain, however, he said partial rain in expected during the next weekend. Dr Hanif said the cold air coming from Europe through Iran and Afghanistan would continue to penetrate Pakistan during the ongoing week.  “Due to cold and availability of extra moisture in the air, the foggy conditions will continue to prevail in Punjab and twin cities.”

He said rain in expected in upper parts of the country by the end of this week, which would provide much-needed respite from severe weather conditions.

Meanwhile, with temperatures falling below zero, life has become very difficult, frequently disrupting flights, while motorway is usually closed for traffic over fear of accidents, due to zero visibility.

Fog is the major feature of this unusual weather outrage, which even clogs internal cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad, also causing such nuisance as flu and sore throats.

Citizens are advised to keep themselves covered with warm clothing, including muffing their mouths, possibly drink slightly warm water, and enjoy teas.

Meanwhile, the Benazir Bhutto International Airport was closed on Sunday for flight operations as thick fog covered the federal capital and adjoining areas, the capital faced freezing temperature in the morning. All domestic and international flights would remain suspended due to the dense fog. These days, due to the fog, flight operation and road traffic face the problems as there is zero visibility.

The federal capital got freezing temperature late Saturday with minimum temperature recorded 0 degree centigrade, said Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). According to synoptic situation, continental air is prevailing over most parts of the country and mainly cold and dry weather is expected for two, three days.

Severe cold wave would continue to prevail over upper parts of Baluchistan, KP and Gilgit-Baltistan. Dense foggy conditions would continue over plains of Punjab, Peshawar & Sukkur divisions, the MET office forecast.